MANILA (UPDATED) - A wonder goal by Sara Eggesvik propelled the Philippine women's national football team to a comfortable 4-0 win against Malaysia, Friday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Filipinas dominated possession en route to a third consecutive triumph in the 2022 AFF Women's Championship. The victory kept them on top of Group A with nine points.
Malaysia, ranked 85th in the world, were resolute defensively in the first half hour as they repeatedly snuffed out the Filipinas' attack.
Despite Malaysia's stout defending, there were still plenty of chances for the hosts early including in the 15th minute when skipper Tahnai Annis hit the crossbar on a header off a superb cross by Eva Madarang.
The breakthrough came in the 32nd minute, when Eggesvik fired from just inside the halfway line. Malaysia 'keeper Nurul Azurin Mazlan got her fingertips on the ball but she could not maintain control, and replays showed the ball crossed the line.
It was the second international goal for the Fil-Norwegian Eggesvik, who subbed in after just 10 minutes when starter Kaya Hawkinson figured in a clash of heads with a Malaysian player.
Katrina Guillou made it 2-0 in the 43rd, pouncing on the rebound after Annis' initial strike was deflected by Mazlan. It was a well-deserved goal for the Fil-French player who had come close earlier in the match but was repeatedly rebuffed by the Malaysian defense.
Philippines coach Alen Stajcic acknowledged afterward that it was a "frustrating performance," as the Filipinas could not get much of a rhythm against a Malaysian side that was content to sit back defensively for most of the match.
"Not a lot of flow in the game, not a lot of rhythm in the game," he lamented. "We scored some goals and we won the game, but I thought we lacked some rhythm."
Nonetheless they were well in control at the break and Stajcic was once again able to give significant minutes to his reserves, sending in Malea Cesar, Anicka Castañeda, and Isabella Flanigan after an hour while Camille Rodriguez was subbed in at the 72nd minute.
Eggesvik was also involved in the Filipinas' two goals in the second half, finding Quinley Quezada and Anicka Castañeda for headers in the 48th and 72nd minutes, respectively.
"It's so fun to play again with the home crowd," said Eggesvik, who had a goal and two assists to earn Player of the Match honors. "We should have scored more goals, but I'm glad we got the win."
Also on Friday, Australia grabbed its first win of the tournament with a 4-0 shellacking of Indonesia, with Amy Sayer netting all four goals.
At the Binan Football Stadium, Thailand downed Singapore, 3-0, to move to second place in Group A with seven points.
The Filipinas are back in action on Sunday against Indonesia, still at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Tickets to the match are available via SM Tickets as well as in the venue.