The Philippine women’s national football team followed up their spectacular opening day win against the United Arab Emirates in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers with another big 4-0 win over Iraq.
Much like their previous game, the Filipinas came out aggressive in the opening minutes, with defender Claire Lim firing warning shots at Iraq’s goalkeeper Khalat Asaad Mustafa.
The breakthrough came in the 21st minute when Eva Madarang opened the scoring again for the Philippines, after some nifty footwork by Hanna Parado that baited defenders led to a quick pass inside the box, which Madarang had no trouble reaching.
Iraq almost equalized a few moments later when Nadia Fadhil’s free kick went just over the crossbar to test Philippine custodian Inna Palacios.
Mustafa valiantly managed to fend off more shots by the ladies in blue, but eventually succumbed to the pressure as the Pinays went on a rampage to end the half.
A corner kick by Patricia Tomanon zeroed in on Hali Long, which the 5-foot-8 defender had no trouble heading into the back of the net in the 43rd minute.
Four extra minutes were added on before the end of the half and in the first minute, Madarang thundered a shot from outside the box that banged off the woodwork. Sara Castañeda was quick to react and it was an easy third goal for the Philippines.
In the last minute of injury time, Tomanon’s cross from down the right flank found Alesa Dai Dolino and her head at the far side of the penalty area, which she then sent looping over Mustafa’s outstretched arms to make it 4 to nothing.
In the second half, Iraq tightened their defenses, which kept the Pinays from scoring more, ultimately ending the match with the same scoreline.
Both Long and Dolino scored their first goals for the Philippines, and the game also meant a second clean sheet for Palacios. Aira Agustin came on as a late substitute, marking her first cap for the Philippines.
Madarang was later awarded AFC’s Woman of the Match honors, and the converted striker is thrilled with her and the team’s fantastic run.
“Scoring in my second straight game was pretty exciting, I didn’t think I was going to score again but it happened which was exciting. I don’t know how I do it, I just try as hard as I can and move in places that everyone is running from, and hopefully I get the ball or I just kick it as hard as I can,” Madarang shared, before promising that the spectacle won’t diminish their concentration.
“We are taking it all in [that] we have done such a good job, so far. We are very blessed with the two wins but we still stay focused for the games to come. As a team, we are humbled and we [will] prepare no matter what our record is, which is very motivating to do the best you can as a player,” she added.
Philippines XI: Palacios, Lim, Dolino, Long, Tomanon (Agustin), Navaja, Parado (Sudaria), Impelido (C), Castañeda S., Madarang, Del Campo (Castañeda A.)
Iraq XI: Mustafa, Jameel Ahmed, Mahmood Ahmed (Shakir Abed), Kadhim, Rasool (Mohammed), Fadhil (C), Saleem, Breesam, Rasheed, Sharif, Majeed Ahmed (Mahmood Bakr)
Next match for the Philippines will be against the hosts Tajikistan on Friday, April 7 at 7 pm. Philippine time.
Watch the game live here: http://mycujoo.tv/ch/273?id=4545
2019 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group A Standings
PHILIPPINES – 6 pts (+8)
BAHRAIN – 3pts (-2)
TAJIKISTAN – 3 pts (-3)
IRAQ – 0 pt (-5)
*JORDAN – 3 pts (+6)
*UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – 0 pt (-4)
(*Match still ongoing as of press time)