The Philippine Women’s National Football Team relished their milestone of achieving their first ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Cup semifinals and displayed a gallant stand against regional powerhouse Vietnam Sunday in Chonburi, Thailand.
The Golden Girls, however, had to battle their own demons and a never-say-die Malditas charge, winning in their tightest match against the Filipinas in recent history, 2-1.
Vietnam, known for its unconventional lightning quick offense, committed a silly own goal in the 35th minute, as left back Tran Thi Hong Nung, in a goal kick situation, overcooked her back pass to goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh, volleying her pass to the Malditas goal.
Putting the Malditas in the lead for the very first time in their head-to-head matchup with Vietnam, Filipina ace scorer Quinley Quezada almost sank a curving volley in the 39th minute, which was tapped over the bar by Tran.
Two minutes later, Vietnam played blitzkrieg, stealing the Malditas’ possession and lack of backline defense as Huynh Nhu stabbed the net with a running strike to level the score.
The winning goal came in the 58th minute, as the cat-quick left winger Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung made her curveball for a 2-1 lead.
The Malditas had their chances late in the game, even dominating possessions after the 80th minute, but could not buy a decent shot on goal. One shot from Hali Long went on the side of the net as the Golden Girls enter the AFF Women’s Cup Finals for the first time since 2016.
The result was respectable for the Filipinas, who scored their first goal against Vietnam since 2012 AFF.
Since then, the Vietnamese went 23-0 against the Malditas in five subsequent AFF games.
The Malditas are still primed for a podium finish and will fight the loser of the Thailand-Myanmar semis match in the battle for bronze.