Malditas save PH from shutout
BIÑAN–The Philippines got its women’s football campaign off to an encouraging start as the Malditas held fancied Myanmar to a goalless stalemate Tuesday night in the 30th Southeast Asian Games here.
The hosts were unable to cash in on some good chances in the second half as they settled for a point in their tournament debut at newly-constructed Binan Football Stadium here.
Philippines coach Let Dimzon expressed satisfaction over her team’s performance, saying that holding the visitors to a clean sheet was a sign of improvement from the Malditas.
“From the start, we really prepared the team to be mentally tough and prepare for transition plays from Myanmar’s fast players, so I think we did well in that aspect,” said Dimzon.
“We were just forced to change some players due to injuries in the second half, but overall, I think this was a good result.”
The Malditas were beaten by Myanmar, 0-3, in their last meeting in the AFF Women’s Championship early this year.
Dimzon is upbeat the Malditas can reach their goal of a podium finish in the tournament. But they have to first overcome Malaysia on Friday to secure their place in the semifinals.
“We have enough information on Malaysia. Whatever happens in the other group, we’ll be ready. It’s all about really focusing on what we want to achieve here.”
Claire Lim rattled the crossbar in the first half and also had a free kick saved in the 70th minute, while Cam Rodriguez also came close to scoring twice in the second half, but the Malditas, despite being buoyed up by an energetic crowd, failed to break the deadlock.
The backline of Lim, Hali Long, Alesa Dolino and Mea Bernal kept Myanmar’s attackers in check, while Inna Palacios had a solid outing on goal.
Wary of the threat posed by Myanmar’s fleet-footed attacking players, Dimzon opted for a more cautious approach, while relying on Quinley Quezada and Sarina Bolden to lead the line.
But the Malditas lacked the end product to match their industrious display as they were unable to punch their ticket to the next round.
In Group B play, defending champion Vietnam and Thailand battled to a 1-1 draw, which meant that no team advanced to the next round on Match Day One of the six-team tournament.