Malditas end Cinderella run with semis loss vs S. Korea

By Vincent Kierk V. Tugnao

PHOTO: AFC

The Malditas's fairytale run in the AFC Women's Asian Cup had ceased to its end after the Philippine women's football team absorbed a 2-nil defeat against powerhouse South Korea in their semis encounter, Thursday, in Pune, India.

The Filipina belles were determined to erect the country’s maiden finals berth, only to fold up to the Taegeuk Ladies whose prowess proved to be too much for an overachieving Malditas.

Regardless, the Philippines was able to book its first-ever ticket to the FIFA World Cup after completing a historic win over World's No. 39 Chinese Taipei, 1-1 (4-3), before running out of gas in the semifinals.

The Malditas sparked a miracle run by subduing the likes of Thailand (1-0) and Indonesia (6-0), with a stain of loss from Australia (0-4), to secure the runner-up spot in Group B.

But their championship hopes came crashing down at the hands of the Taegeuk Ladies, who also sneaked past Australia in their own quarterfinals.

South Korea's So-Hyun Cho stunned the Alen Stajcic-led Malditas with an early goal at the fourth minute of action, garnered from Korea’s first corner kick. 

That early shock gave hope for Malditas to equalize the lead, but Pinay midfielder Katrina Gillou missed a long-range shot at the 24th minute to keep themselves scoreless.

The Korea Republic found an opportunity to double the lead by flickering a cross goal from forward So Hwayeon at the 34th minute, which further sent Malditas' dreams to the brink.
Despite mishaps before halftime, the Pinay booters remained resilient on defense thanks to Filipina goalkeeper Olivia McDaniels.

The Malditas's defensive unit was tested when substitute Min-a Lee tried to score in the 87th minute but the Pinay keeper McDaniels rejected that shot attempt, finishing scoreless at regulation, 2-0.

The Philippine Malditas will aim to redeem their bitter Asian Cup loss when they finally join the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, next year.


Edited by Jostle Doen Pilayre
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