Filipinas repay love with win for the ages
Tickets for the final of the AFF Women’s Championship were a hot commodity as fans braved slight rains and trooped to Rizal Memorial Stadium on Sunday and got rewarded after seeing the Philippines beat Thailand, 3-0, for the title.
An attendance record for the two-week competition was reached even before kickoff, with the final figure pegged at 8,257 for the highly-anticipated showdown that featured the Filipinas going for their first-ever championship.
The performances coach Alen Stajcic’s charges have put up since the tournament opened last July 3 prompted interest of many supporters, who made attempts to search for the best seats possible immediately after a 4-0 thumping of Vietnam in the semifinals.
Limited grandstand seats worth P400 to P500, plus thousands of tickets in the bleachers area, were being bought outside of the stadium less than three hours before kickoff, an attendant from SM Tickets said.
Real homecourt edge
The grandstand was almost close to full capacity about an hour before kickoff, while those in the bleachers had to stay dry using their umbrellas while witnessing Myanmar’s 4-3 upset of Vietnam in a consolation match for third place.
The Filipinas certainly felt the advantage of playing at home in their bid to get back at the Thai squad known as the Chaba Kaew, who handed them their lone defeat that came during the close of the group stage.
About 1,400 fans watched the Philippines’ opening match against Australia last July 3 that ended in a 1-0 win on Sarina Bolden’s second half header.
The crowd was sparse in the next two matches, with more than 600 witnessing the 7-0 shellacking of Singapore and less than 500 watching the 4-0 defeat of Malaysia.
Attendance surged since, with almost 1,500 on hand for Bolden’s hat trick in a 4-1 win over Indonesia before nearly 3,000 attended the loss to Thailand.
About 3,233 came when the Filipinas stunned Vietnam, 4-0, to set up a rematch with Thailand.