MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine women’s under-18 football team absorbed a 0-4 beating at the hands of Australia to start its AFF U18 Women’s Championship campaign at the Jakabaring Athletic Field in Palembang, Indonesia.
Eyeing to duplicate the feat of their senior counterparts who downed the Matildas on the way to ruling the AFF Women’s Championship earlier this July, the Filipinas managed to hold their own in the first half against the taller and bigger Australians.
The backline of senior team mainstay Chantelle Maniti, Kylie Yap, Rae Mikella Tolentino, and Elisha Lubiano repulsed wave after wave of the Aussies’ attacks but failed to prevent a conversion from midfielder Avaani Prakash at the 26th minute, which had the Philippines staring at a 0-1 deficit at the break.
Australia turned its aggressiveness up a notch in the second half, with Prakash earning a brace at the 62nd minute and forward India Brier and midfielder Maya Lobo contributing a goal apiece in the blowout.
Filipinas senior mainstay Bella Flanigan, who is expected to be one the U18 squad’s primary offensive options, struggled to find openings as the Matildas controlled possession for most of the game.
Flanigan and the team will have a day to regroup before they take the field again at 4:30 pm on Wednesday against Myanmar. The Filipinas will then conclude the group stage on Friday versus Malaysia.
The Let Dimzon-mentored Filipinas need to win their last two games to finish second in Group B as only the top two teams will move on to the semifinals. – Rappler.com