MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine women’s football team fell short of a comeback as it endured a 2-1 defeat to Scotland for a second straight loss in the 2023 Pinatar Cup in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain, on Saturday, February 18.
The Philippines’ own second-half substitute Meryll Serrano grabbed a consolation goal at the 90th minute with a sensational left-footed free kick inside the penalty arc, but time wasn’t on the Filipinas’ side as the referee only signaled two minutes of added time.
The setback ended the Filipinas’ chances of bagging the title as they stumbled down the bottom of the table with 0 points and a -2 goal difference after two games.
Scotland moved up to third place with 3 points and a -1 goal difference.
Iceland (3 points, +2 goal difference) and Wales (3 points, +1 goal difference), still set to compete later in the day, pace the four-team competition.
The team on top of the table after the round-robin action will clinch the championship outright.
Scotland’s Lauren Davidson scored the opener at the 39th minute as she drilled in an incredible left-footed strike at the edge of the penalty box.
Davidson received the ball from Christy Grimshaw at the right wing, then cut inside past Philippine right-back Sofia Harrison and launched a shot to stun goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.
Rachel Corsie doubled Scotland’s advantage at the 57’ mark after she connected with fellow second-half substitute Caroline Weir’s cross from the left corner.
“Again, we fought all the way until the end, and we’re able to get that late goal. So, you know, our effort and our resilience are always there,” said Filipinas team captain Tahnai Annis
“And I think we did create some better opportunities for ourselves (compared to the last game). And, you know, we had those chances that could have changed the way the game played out. And I think it was more of a back and forth kind of game that anyone could have taken that game, and it was just a matter of winning our moments, and Scotland won more moments than we did. But the team effort, again, was there.”
After losing their opening matches, both the Philippines and Scotland tinkered with their respective starting lineups.
Philippine head coach Alen Stajcic brought in Jacklyn Sawicki, Katrina Guillou, and Sarina Bolden for Dominique Randle, Carleigh Frilles, and Isabella Flanigan respectively, while Scotland head coach Pedro Martínez Losa only retained 2022 Scotland Women’s Player of the Year Sam Kerr in the first 11.
Despite a heavy rotation versus the 53rd-ranked Philippines – which lost to Wales, 1-0, in the opener – Scotland did not have the expected spark to start the match as it completely struggled to break down the sturdy defense of the Filipinas.
Instead, it was Filipinas new starter Guillou who provided the spark and almost broke the deadlock after a brilliant run behind the Scotland defense at the 33rd minute.
Bolden made a short pass to Annis, who then immediately threaded an accurate through ball for Guillou. But Scotland goalkeeper Jenna Fife rushed out of her position to deny the forward’s attempt inside the box.
Three minutes before the halftime whistle, it was a role reversal for Guillou and Annis as the former was the one who provided the chance this time. Annis, though, had a bad first touch which forced her to go sideways and not get a shot off.
For the second consecutive game, the Filipinas gave up majority of the possession to their opponents as the Scots controlled the ball (79%) inside the first 45 minutes.
Scotland began the second half by making a triple substitution as Corsie, Weir, and Kirsty Hanson came on for Kelly Clark, Christine Murray, and Lisa Evans, respectively.
It proved to be a tactical masterstroke from Losa as both Corsie and Weir combined to put a massive dent on the Filipinas’ hopes of making a comeback.
Reina Bonta, Frilles, Serrano, Anicka Castañeda, Flanigan, and Kaya Hawkinson all checked in at various points in the second half, but only Serrano made it to the score sheet as the Philippines succumbed to the world No. 25 Scotland.
“I think as long as we keep going in the direction that we want to, no matter how incremental it might be, I think we’re still progressing. And having a lot of takeaways from each game that we play, which will help us in the World Cup,” said Annis.
The Filipinas will close out their campaign versus world No. 16 Iceland on Wednesday, February 22, at 3:30 am (Manila time) at the same venue. – Rappler.com
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