Semis clincher to set up crucial duel vs Thailand
The Philippines is expected to cement its place in the semifinals of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship on Sunday against Indonesia, wrapping up a stretch of three games facing teams at the bottom of Group A.
Another three points in the 7 p.m. match at Rizal Memorial Stadium will put the Filipinas through to the last four before it goes the grueling phase of the regional championship with the final group stage match with Thailand.
Coach Alen Stajcic, whose team pummeled Singapore and Malaysia by a combined scoreline of 11-0, is likely to mix up his starting lineup anew in anticipation for the big matches ahead.
Despite his constant expression of the things to improve, Stajcic is also singing praises for his players who have been stepping up whenever their names are called.
“The fact that everyone in this team knows their roles and responsibilities and we’re all aligned in the same direction allows that to happen,” Stajcic said.
One player who stepped up was Sara Eggesvik, who accounted for the opening goal and two assists when the Filipinas defeated Malaysia, 4-0, after filling in for Kaya Hawkinson who got a knock on her forehead just 10 minutes into the contest.
The Filipinas sit on top of the group with nine points, two clear of Thailand, which faces Malaysia at Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna.
Tuesday’s match will determine the group winner, and the Philippines hopes to get a good result that could lead to avoiding an early clash with defending champion Vietnam, favored to emerge as the top team in Group B.
Indonesia was handily beaten by the Philippines, 6-0, during the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup in India, and the same result could occur even with the possibility of another major change in the starting 11.
“It doesn’t matter who plays, it doesn’t matter what position they play, everyone knows their role and everyone tries to execute it the best way they can,” said Stajcic.