Can this be the start of another miracle for Philippine football?
In their first-ever assignment on the Asian football’s biggest stage, the Philippine Malditas edged out the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup tournament hosts Jordan, 2-1, at the Amman International Stadium, Amman.
It was a revenge game of sorts for the Philippines, as Jordan had emerged 1-5 winners the last time both nations faced each other in the competition’s qualifying tournament, held last year.
In front of a predominantly partisan crowd of 9,473 fans, the Jordanians took the lead after 15 minutes of play. Striker Maysa Jbarah made up for an early miss when she latched on a Stephanie Al Naber’s through ball and shot past Filipina goalkeeper Kearra Bastes-Jones for the opener.
The Filipinas tried to answer back in the first period, and Maria Park’s free kick forced a routine stop from Jordan goalkeeper Salma Ghazal. Halftime came with the Philippines a goal down, but the leveler was bound to come early in the second half.
Center-back Yasmeen Khair turned Philippine left-back Jesse Shugg’s free kick into her own goal, much to the delight and relief of the Filipina contingent, in the 51st minute. Rabah Benlarbi’s wards then took the lead in the 76th minute when Sarina Bolden out-muscled her marker and shot past Ghazal to stun the home team.
Jordan tried to retaliate late in the game but failed to find another goal, as the Philippines held on 2-1 to emerge victorious in its inaugural AFC Women’s Asian Cup match.
Up next for the Philippines is a daunting game against China on April 9, 7:45 PM at the King Abdullah II Stadium, Amman. The Filipinas need only one more win to not only advance to the semifinals, but also to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be held in Paris, France.
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