Filipinas shut out Hong Kong gals, advance to 2nd rd of Paris qualifier


THE Philippine women’s football team blanked Hong Kong, 4-0, to windup unscathed after three matches in the first round at the close on Tuesday of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Hisor Central Stadium in Tajikistan.

“I thought we played well, we controlled the game well, probably our best control we have had this week here against a good opposition, an opposition 15 months ago we beat only 2-1 in the last minute,” the Filipinas’ Australian coach Alen Stajcic said.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup-bound Filipinas topped Group E with nine points and a +16 goal difference.

They advanced to the second round in October where the winners in the other six groups of the first round of the qualifier will join Japan, Australia, China, South Korea and North Korea.

The 12 teams will be bracketed into three in the second round for another single-round robin competition with the four best teams proceeding to the third and final round that will determine the top two placers which will advance to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Philippines beat Pakistan, 4-0, and Tajikistan, 8-0, earlier in the qualifier.

“It just shows how much we’ve improved. A large part of the game was pretty good, but our finishing has to be better if we want to compete with the big nations in Asia,” Stajcic said. “We’ve improved a lot but there’s still a lot of hard work to do.”

Striker Sarina Bolden scored the Filipinas’ first goal only in the fifth minute when she beat Hong Kong defenders Chung See and Ng Cheuk Wai.

She made a the brace in the 41st minute before Meryl Serrano made it 3-0 in the 44th on a free kick.

Quickly Quezada’s long kick gave the Philippines a 4-0 advantage at the 53rd minute.

The Philippines wasn’t threatened the rest of the way with goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel protecting the goal all the way.

Hong Kong had six points in Group E.

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