The Philippine Malditas fought hard against Vietnam in the semifinals of the women’s football competition of the 2019 Southeast Asian(SEA) Games but still, they fell to the defending SEA Games women’s football champion, 2-0 at the Biñan Football Stadium last December 5th.
Thai’s Thi Thao and Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung found the back of the net for the Vietnamese team in the 60th and 84th minutes respectively to seal a gold medal match duel against Thailand which beat Myanmar, 1-0 in another semifinal match.
The Malditas best chance to score a goal came from Alisha del Campo in the 73rd minute but her attempt was declared offside.
“Aside from the fitness, it’s the mentality of the players since we already know that we can perform well during this game. But “yung lapses can happen, every time,” said Malditas head coach Let Dimzon via Spin.PH on the improvement the team showed against the defending SEA Games gold medalist.
It was a smooth sailing campaign for Maditas during the group stage in holding Myanmar into a goalless draw to begin their group stage campaign at the Biñan Football Stadium last November 26th.
Camille Rodriguez and Claire Lim had the best chances for the Malditas to gain the full point but their attempts went straight to Myanmar’s goalkeeper in 59th and 67th minute respectively, resulting in both teams to earn a point each.
“This is the first time we drew against Myanmar. The result in this game is very far from our performance from the past years. I think our camp in Japan gave us a big help to improve the performance of the players,” said Dimzon in another Spin.PH article as the team went to Japan for their training camp to prepare for the SEA Games.
“From the start, we were prepared to be mentally tough. Since we’ve been losing to Myanmar, what we did is we strengthen our frontline and transition play. We have a lot of changes coming from transition, coming from defending to attack,” the veteran coach added.
Just like the teams in the men’s football tournament that encounter logistical problems in Manila, the squads participating in the women’s football tournament was not spared with the Malditas need to wait for hours in their hotel accommodation to be fixed.
The six football coaches competing for the tournament complained during the pre-match press conference about inadequate food each with Dimzon shared that egg, rice, and Chinese street food kikiam was the breakfast of her players.
“I’m not sure kung paano ang arrangement ng PHISGOC (Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee) , but the quality and quantity of food are not enough,” Dimzon quoted in article of ABS-CBN News . “Sa variety din, like for this morning, hindi enough ‘yung rice and kikiam and egg. Walang nutrients.”
Dimzon observation was corroborated by Malaysia head coach Jacob Joseph, quoted in the same ABS-CBN news article:”Today, my breakfast, most of the players eat only bread and some egg. We have a big tournament, I hope they will improve the food.”
Despite distraction from the organizers’ mishaps, the Malditas was still determined to book a semifinals slot in beating Malaysia, 5-0 last November 29th, still at Biñan Football Stadium.
Sarina Bolden found the back of the net during the 24th, 41st and 45th minute for hat-trick. Alisha Del Campo scored in the 38th minute while Eva Madarang added in the stoppage time to propel the Malditas into the semifinals.
“Before we started, the coaches were very tense. We were confident that we can win this game but we were not sure how Malaysia would play over the past two months,” Dimzon quoted in a Spin.PH article shared.
Myanmar and Philippines tallied four points each after the Group A action ended but the Burmese team got the higher seeding due to fair play criteria, which is one of the tiebreakers used in SEA Games football competition, aside from goal difference and goals scored. It caused the Philippines slide to second place and battled Group B top notcher Vietnam.
The Malditas still have a chance to barge in the podium if they beat Myanmar for bronze on December 8th at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium to end the 34-year-old medal drought on women’s football.