By Gabriel Jason Pascual


The Philippine Women’s football team pulled out all the stops as they dethroned reigning three-time champion Vietnam, 4-nil, to punch their ticket to the AFF Women’s Championship finals at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Friday.

Joining Hali Long and Tanhai Annis in the scoring frey, Sarina Bolden spearheaded the mighty run by the Filipinas with a brace and a stunning image of her game-closing header.

The beginning of the end

The first goal was scored when Bolden towered over a crowd of defenders to connect the header from a fleeting corner pass from Annis, rattling the defending champs.

Looking to avenge with a goal, Vietnam continued to find cracks in the Philippine defense in the middle portion of the first half up until the early 2nd half, but kept failing to capitalize on the advantage.

Pham Hai Yen was a woman on a mission as she tried to orchestrate some sort of flow in the Vienamese offense, but was often met head-on by Jessica Cowart.

Annis and Flanigan tried to start off the second half with a goal, but the pesky Vietnamese defense proved to be prepared for that early surge. 

But after fumbling a number of attempts, Annis scored on a penalty kick that was rewarded after the ball travelled on the hands of a Vietnamese defender, 2-0.

Annis once again showed her perfect corner pass by delivering a spot-on assist to a Hali Long header in the 61st minute of the match to run away at 3-0.

The finishing goal was struck after a 70th-minute scramble that occupied the Vietnamese goalkeeper to open up the post for a Bolden header, 4-0.

The Filipinas finally put Vietnam to rest when coach Alen Stajcic called upon his defensive players to fend off all Vietnamese attempts at a comeback and sealed the victory in commanding fashion.

In this stunning upset, the formerly called Malditas had put a halt to the dominance of the reigning 3-time champions and 7-time SEAG gold medalist Vietnam over the Asian Football threshold.

The Final Roadblock

As the Filipinas dismantled Vietnam, their soon adversary in Thailand for the AFF Championship had just overpowered Myanmar in a 2-0 victory, in the other end of the semis bracket.

The Filipinas now look forward to completing their Cinderella story as they try to exact revenge on powerhouse Thailand on Sunday, July 17, at the same location.

Edited by Quian Vencel Galut