(UPDATED) The Filipinas couldn't hold on to a one-goal advantage and wound up losing a 1-2 heartbreaker to host nation Vietnam in their second match of the 31st Southeast Asian Games, Wednesday evening at the Cẩm Phả Stadium in Quảng Ninh.
In a battle between two teams bound for their maiden World Cup appearances, it was defending SEA Games champion Vietnam that grabbed the crucial win in front of over 15,000 fans at home.
Tahnai Annis put the Filipinas ahead in the 15th minute, heading in a cross from Malea Cesar past Vietnam 'keeper Lai Thi Tuyet.
The Philippines weathered Vietnam's pressure in the next 20 minutes but a poor clearance in the 38th led to Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung slipping the ball past Olivia McDaniel.
Five minutes after the restart, Trần Thị Thùy Trang scored the winner for Vietnam.
The Filipinas had their opportunities to equalize, notably in the 67th when Quinley Quezada fired a shot just wide to the left. Isabella Flanigan also tried her luck from long range late, but her shot was well off the mark and didn't bother the Vietnamese GK.
"Maybe we had a little bit of fatigue and little nerves, playing in front of such a big crowd," Philippines coach Alen Stajcic acknowledged after the game.
"But I thought at the beginning, we were the better team. I thought in the middle, they were the better team, and then in the last 10, 20 minutes, I thought we were the better team again," he added.
With the result, the Philippines finished the group stage with 3 points on a win and a loss. They had clobbered Cambodia, 5-0, in their first match last Monday.
Their hopes of making it to the semifinals hinges on the result of the Vietnam-Cambodia match on Saturday; a draw or a win by Vietnam will send the Filipinas to the semis.
The game was also a milestone for veteran center back Hali Long, who earned her 50th cap.