POOLED REPORT FROM PSA
NAY PYI TAW – The hostile crowd and several perceived questionable calls played a crucial role in the Philippine women’s football team’s opening-day setback to Myanmar last Tuesday.
“The girls are not used to playing before 30,000 screaming fans,” said Malditas team manager Filbert Alquiros a day after the Malditas suffered a sorry 0-2 loss in the women’s football competition of the 27th Southeast Asian Games at the Mandalithiri Stadium in Mandalay.
“The game was okay. We had our chances. But breaks – and some calls – didn’t go our way. It was expected because we were playing against the home team.”
Branded as the best team the country ever assembled, the Malditas had a gallant stand against the inspired home team early on, leaving the Burmese groping for form in the first 29 minutes of the match.
But the Filipinas had some glaring lapses on defense, allowing the ball to roll into striker Khin Malartun, who fired into an empty net for the Burmese’s first goal of the night.
In the 58th minute, Than Thnahetwe escaped from a bunch of Filipina defenders before punching in a goal that left the crowd erupting in wild celebration.
With that loss, the Malditas are forced to win their second match against reigning champion Vietnam on Friday to claim one of the two semifinal slots in Group A.
“Vietnam plays more like Myanmar and Thailand. They have the same style and same strategy,” Alquiros said. “We will just employ a different tactic. We have to be unpredictable against them.”