Football: Australia coach predicts Filipinas 'will go deep' in AFF tilt

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2022 02:08 PM

 Philippines midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki (4) looks to control the ball against Australia in their ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women's Championship match in Manila on July 4, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
Philippines midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki (4) looks to control the ball against Australia in their ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women's Championship match in Manila on July 4, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.


MANILA, Philippines -- Australia coach Melissa Andreatta expects to see the Philippines again in the AFF Women's Championship after her young team absorbed a shock 0-1 defeat on Monday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

The Filipinas pulled off the upset, thanks to a Sarina Bolden goal in the 60th minute, earning the host nation the full three points in their first game of the tournament.

"I think it was a great game, a tight game," said Andreatta, whose squad features a handful of Under-23 players. "I thought this game in particular would be a high quality one … and it turned out that way."

The teams battled to a scoreless draw at halftime but the Filipinas were the more aggressive team coming out of the break, and they were rewarded when Eva Madarang's long throw-in was converted by Bolden.

The Matildas still had their chances, notably in the 70th minute, but Olivia McDaniel produced two fine saves in a row to preserve the Filipinas' lead. 

Andreatta later said she was not at all shocked at the performance of the Filipinas, who were underdogs entering the match even with Australia not bringing its senior team to the competition.

"The Philippines showed fight in the Asian Cup," Andreatta pointed out, referring to the Filipinas' historic campaign in India in February where they secured a berth in next year's FIFA Women's World Cup.

"In front of their home fans for the first time since recording that historic World Cup qualification, a bronze medal at the SEA Games, they're a team in form, a team that's building," she added. "And [they're] in front of their home fans, we didn't expect anything else but a fight."

"They'll go deep into this competition," she predicted. "We look forward to meeting them in the finals."

Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout semifinals. Thailand is currently on top of Group A after a 4-0 rout of Indonesia on Monday night. 

The Filipinas are second on goal differential, with Malaysia and Singapore each having a point after battling to a goalless draw, also on Monday.

For the Matildas, the priority now is their recovery before they play Thailand in what will be a crucial tiff on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial. 

"In a tournament, in a format like this, it's all about recovery and looking to give players those match minutes that we think is really important in terms of building depth in our larger national team program," Andreatta said.

"We'll keep building on executing our principles of play as well, and making sure that we can get better each match, both in attack and in defense."