PH dethrones Vietnam, earns historic spot in AFF finals

·2 min read

THE Philippines booted out defending champion Vietnam and earned a trip to the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship finals after a 4-0 semifinals win on Friday, July 15, 2022, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

The Philippines came into the match coming off its first loss in the tournament.

The Filipinas came into the match as an underdog against the highest FIFA-ranked Asean team in Vietnam, which is also World Cup-bound like the Philippines. Vietnam is currently world-rated No. 32, while the Philippines is ranked No. 53.

“I believe we came through with a complete performance. They are still the best team in Southeast Asia and just because we beat them tonight doesn’t mean they’re not. I believe we could have scored more goals. It shows the professionalism of this team,” Philippines head coach Alen Stajcic said in a report posted on AFF’s official website.

The Filipinas were dominant to finish in front of a lively crowd at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Center back Hali Long headed in a goal in the 31st minute from an accurate corner kick by skipper Tahnai Annis to give the Philippines a 1-0 lead in the opening half.

The Philippines got a huge scoring opportunity after being awarded a penalty kick. Annis struck inside the box and it hit the outstretched arm of Vietnamese defender Hoang Thi Loan.

Annis took the penalty kick and converted it after striking at the bottom left corner that stunned goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh to give the Philippines a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.

Annis once again orchestrated another attack by the Philippines with a beautiful corner kick that connected with a header by striker Sarina Bolden in the 61st minute.

Bolden completed a brace with another header in the 70th minute from a cross by Quinley Quezada.

This was Bolden’s seventh goal and is currently the top scorer in the tournament.

“We’ll enjoy this win in the meantime then perhaps look forward to revenge on Sunday,” said Stajcic.

The Philippines takes on Thailand in the finals tonight at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Thailand earned its spot in the finals after a 2-0 win over Myanmar in the other semifinals.

Thailand is the only team to beat the Philippines in this year’s tournament. Thailand defeated the Philippines, 1-0, in the group stage.

This is the Philippines’ first trip to the finals in the AFF Women’s Championship history. The Filipinas’ best finish was fourth place back in 2019.

Thailand, in the meantime, has the most AFF Women’s Championship titles with four since the tournament was founded in 2004.

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