Malditas down Nepal to move a step closer to Asian Cup

THE Philippine Malditas moved a step closer to making it to the 2022 AFC Asian Women’s Cup after beating Nepal, 2-1, in their Group F qualifying match in Uzbekistan on Saturday night. — AFC

THE Philippine women’s national football team moved a step closer to making it to the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Women’s Cup after beating Nepal, 2-1, in their Group F qualifying match in Uzbekistan on Saturday night.

Late goals by Thanai Annis and Camille Wilson towed the Malditas to the come-from-behind victory in the match held at JAR Stadium in Tashkent to earn the full three points.

The nationals played catch-up throughout the contest after going down, 0-1, in the 10th minute after Nepal’s Bimala Chaudary scored on a header.

While the 68th-ranked Malditas were seemingly heading to an upset loss at the hands of 101st-ranked Nepal going into stoppage time, the former extricated for an equalizer.

Ms. Annis found herself free in the box and converted a cross from teammate Chandler McDaniel to level the count in the 90th minute.

Two minutes later, Ms. Wilson would score the go-ahead goal on another assist from Ms. McDaniel to complete the impressive charge-back win.

“The new players played well and initiated the first goal. Our adjustments in the second half resulted in us scoring in the last five minutes,” said Malditas coach Marlon Maro after the game.

The Malditas, whose campaign is being supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the MVP Sports Foundation, next face Hong Kong (78th) on Sept. 24 where they hope to complete a sweep of its group assignments to book their spot in the Asian Cup in India next year.

Qualifying phase format has the top teams in each of the eight groupings advancing to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, where they get to vie for spots in the 2023 International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Women’s World Cup. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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