MANILA, Philippines – The Filipinas’ hopes for a semifinal spot in the AFF Women’s Under-18 Championship got dashed when they were repulsed by a strong Myanmar squad, 3-1, on Wednesday, July 27, at the Jakabaring Athletic Field in Palembang, Indonesia.
The Filipinas had hoped to bounce back after absorbing a 0-4 beating from Australia in their opening match last Monday. But the second loss booted them out of the regional tournament where only the top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals.
Myanmar, meanwhile, virtually sealed its spot after also repulsing Malaysia, 2-0, last Monday.
Philippine coach Let Dimzon shook things up a bit by inserting two new faces – defenders Stella Divino and midfielder Mikaela Villacin – to the starting lineup.
That, however, hardly changed the fortunes of the Philippine team. Just like their first game, the Filipinas once again struggled to keep possession against a Myanmar side which showed technical superiority particularly at midfield.
Back-to-back goals by Myarmar’s Hnin Myint Aye on the 33rd minute and Su Myat Noe on the 37th had the Filipinas staring at a 0-2 deficit at the half.
The Filipinas tried valiantly to get back into the game in the second half and had a number of chances to score.
A goal by the Philippines which was controversially and belatedly called offside by the officials after the conversion could have also changed the complexion of the match.
It did not help the Filipinas’ cause that Myanmar players started to fall to the ground feigning injuries, only to bounce right back up after causing delays at least eight times in the last 20 minutes of play.
Jonalyn Lucban finally broke through on the 87th minute to put the Philippines on the scoreboard, 2-1, and keep their flickering hopes alive.
But Aye scored right back for Myanmar in extra time to seal the game as the Philippines suffers an early exit just over a week after its senior team captured the AFF Women’s Championship title.
The Filipinas will be aiming to salvage their campaign in the tournament with at least a victory when they face Malaysia on Friday. – Rappler.com