Ignacius Carell Cruz and John Rei Salanga

The young Filipinas fell victim to the U17 Matildas’ offensive answer to Nina Mathelus’ blitzkrieg brace, absorbing a 6-2 loss in the second round of the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup 2024 Qualifiers on Wednesday in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Photo Courtesy of Philippine Women's National Football Team

Dropping an early 2-nil domination, the ladies in red failed to prolong their composed and advantaged bout as the tables turned threefold.

The Filipinas U-17 team drew first blood as they came out firing courtesy of forward Mathelus, who converted a beautiful penalty at the lower left corner of the net in the 14th minute.

Three minutes later, a costly give away from Australia in their own half led to an open Mathelus who displayed immense skill to get past the last line of defense. She gave the Philippines a golden 2-0 advantage, securing an outstanding brace with a chip shot over the Australian goalkeeper.

But the young Matildas were quick to retaliate as Grace Kuilamu scored a goal in the 30th minute while Ruby Cothbert added another, three minutes before stoppage time, to level the playing field at 2-all.

Shelby McMahon’s goal in the 46th minute catapulted Australia in front and seemed like the breakaway point for the girls in yellow and green. They never looked back and kept on punishing the Philippine defense.

The Australians saw three more goals in their favor through Lillian Skelly, Talia Younis, and Mikayla Duong, and gave the Philippines an unanswerable question to the Matildas’ devastating attacks, consequently handing the Filipinas U-17 team their first loss in the second round of the tournament.

The loss plunges the Philippines to the bottom of Group B with a -4 GD while the young Matildas rise to the top with a +4 GD. 

The young Filipinas will look to return to the winning column on Friday as they take on Bangladesh and on Sunday as they face the home team Vietnam.

Edited by John James Girao