By CARLO ANOLIN
The Filipinas are out to extend their hot streak and get their third straight win when they take on the Malaysians Friday night in the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Filipina booters, after gaining back-to-back victories, try to move a step closer to the semifinals against the Malaysians in their 7 p.m. encounter.
Now with six points, the Philippine women’s national football team hopes to get a tight grip of its solo lead in Group A. Four points behind is Thailand while two points farther back is Malaysia.
Australia and Indonesia collide at 4 p.m. in the same venue while Singapore faces a tall order against Thailand at 7 p.m. over at the City of Imus Grandstand in Cavite.
National team head coach Alen Stajcic expressed satisfaction with the Filipinas’ 7-0 rout of Singapore, a feat he attributed to their deeper bench.
Despite drawing less number of spectators, with 647 present, on a fair weather, the Filipinas waxed hot early behind the efforts of Isabella Flanigan, Tahnai Annis, Sarina Bolden and an own goal before Stajcic made key substitutions in the next 45 minutes.
Sara Eggesvik and Kaya Hawkinson found the back of the net at the 47th and 57th minute marks before Anicka Castaneda, who came off the bench, provided the seventh and last goal for the Filipinas at the 69th minute.
“Maximizing the bench shows the discipline within the team, shows the unity, shows the alignment we have in the group,” said Stajcic. “Regardless of who comes on, we will maximize them well. It is important that everyone contributes. We have a big squad.
“Obviously it is important to be at the top of the table and that’s where everyone one to be. We are pleased to be here right now, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” added the Australian mentor.