Mon 25 October 2021

PH Malditas re-enter Asian Cup, herald arrival of new golden girl McDaniel

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The Philippine women’s national football team survived another scare and booked an advance ticket to Mumbai as the feisty Malditas upped Hong Kong, 2-1-, in Group F of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifying Tournament Friday in Tashkent.

The game heralded the arrival of the Malditas’ new golden girl Chandler Blue McDaniel, who, after assisting the two goals in the previous game against Nepal and missing a plethora of shots, made her first international goal for the Malditas in the most riveting fashion.

McDaniel scored the winning goal 87 minutes into the match as she outran defenders Ma Chak Shun and Leung Hong Kiu Anke from near the center line for a sensational finish to the goal.

The goal, a fitting end to McDaniel’s debut tournament, has sent the Malditas to the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Mumbai, India—their second straight appearance in Asia’s top football tournament.

Earlier in the first half, the Malditas’ oldest player Tahnai Annis sank the opening goal at the 17th minute off a long pass from Rocelle Mendano from the right flank.

The 32-year-old Annis, a veteran of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, scored a goal in each of the two games in tournament, which are her first international goals of her nine-year senior career.

After Annis’ goal, McDaniel tried to cannon a number of shots on goal but was always blocked by goalkeeper Ng Cheuk Wai.

Hong Kong, eight places lower than the Philippines in the world ranking, found the equalizer and gave the Malditas another scare as right back Chung Pui Ki sank a sensational free kick two yards off the left flank of the penalty box.

The goal at the 61st minute came after Mendano fouled the attack of Hong Kong forward Limbu Sneha. It was Chung’s first international goal.

The Malditas had two flopped attempts at runaway goals but Alisha del Campo and Camille Wilson flopped in their attempts.

As Hong Kong was inspired to attack even further after Chung’s goal, Wilson stole from the midfield and passed to McDaniel, who made a 50-yard dash to finally pinch the winner.

With the win, the Philippines perfected their group with two wins, scoring four goals and giving up two. They became the sixth team to qualify for the Asian Cup set in January 2022, joining earlier qualifier South Korea and automatic qualifiers Japan, Australia, China, and host India.

Photo from The Philippine Football Federation Facebook page

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