HOST Philippines eked out a pulsating 1-0 win over New Zealand to secure a spot in the finals of the PFF Women’s Tri Nation Futsal Invitational 2023 Saturday night at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Althea Rebosura delivered a stunning strike late in extra time while Mykaella Abeto came through with big-time saves as the Pinay 5 bounced back strong from a pair of losses.
The victory came at the right time for the home squad, which previously dropped its two elimination round assignments, 4-9 to Indonesia and 1-4 to New Zealand.
The Indonesians claimed an automatic seat to the championship game after topping the elims on a sweep at the expense of the hosts and the Kiwis, 3-1.
Despite an 0-2 record and No. 3 ranking, the Pinay 5 still got a crack at the second finals ticket via the you-or-me playoff against the No. 2 Futsal Ferns (1-1).
Cheered by a roaring home crowd, the Pinay 5 seized control of the tightly-fought contest with only two minutes left in OT with Rebosura sending it home.
The Futsal Ferns pushed hard for the equalizer but Philippine keeper Ms. Abeto stopped all of their three attempts in the final minute of the match to ice it to the delight of supporters. — Olmin Leyba