PH women booters open Asian Cup bid with rousing win
The Philippines got its campaign in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers off to a rousing start with a 4-0 drubbing of the United Arab Emirates at Pamir Stadium in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
A brace from Eva Madarag and goals from Irish Navaja and Sara Castaneda in the second half boosted the Filipinos to maximum points in their Group A opener.
It wasn’t just the scoreline that was impressive, but the quality of the goals as well as coach Leticia Bautista’s charges served notice of their bid to nail one of two spots at take in their group.
The California-based Madarag set the tone with a sublime first-time finish inside the box in the 14th minute, before doubling his tally with an even better volley with the outside of his right foot a minute into first half stoppage time.
But the goal of the game belonged to Navaja, who curled home from a tight angle in the 49th minute after the Filipinas broke in numbers on the counter attack.
Castaneda pounced on a Navaja cross from the left to put the ball past UAE goalkeeper Noura Saif in the 54th minute.
The Filipinas gun for their second win against Iraq on Wednesday. Iraq lost to Tajikistan, 0-1, while Jordan whipped Bahrain, 6-0, in other matches last Thursday.
As host of the 2018 Asian Cup, Jordan has already qualified for the eight-team tournament, which means only one team will advance from Group A. China, Japan and Australia have also qualified being the Top 3 teams based on the Fifa rankings.