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Filipinas whip Vietnamese, but still fall short of semis

PHNOM PENH—The Philippines pulled off a 2-1 victory over defending champion Vietnam on Tuesday in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games women’s football tournament at the Smart-RSN Stadium, Toul Kourk District here.

But the heroics of Sarina Bolden and Halli Long weren’t good enough to push the Filipinas to the semifinal round after Myanmar repulsed Malaysia with a massive 5-1 rout at the Old Stadium in the other side of the city.

The Philippines’ Sarina Bolden maneuvers the ball against two Vietnamese defenders in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games women’s football tournament at the Smart-RSN Stadium, Toul Kourk District.

Both the Philippines and Myanmar finished with a 2-0-1 win-draw-loss record, but it was the latter, which joined Vietnam in the semis on a better goal difference

The champs took the top berth with their 2-0-1 slate.

“We tried to win the game. But it wasn’t enough,” said Filipinas’ coach Allen Stajcic.

Bolden put Vietnam on the edge with a penalty shot in the 12th minute.

But Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, one of the heroines, who helped Vietnam reach the 2023 Women’s Cup with the Filipinas, equalized with her own volley in the 40th minute.

The Filipinas kept the Vietnamese at bay in the second half, before Long penetrated with a goal in the 82nd minute.

Stajcic said he is still proud of the team for putting up a big game against Vietnam.

“Yes, we had our best performance in the tournament. And we saved it for our toughest opponent,” added Stajcic as the Philippines handed Vietnam a second straight defeat following the Filipinas’ 4-0 rout in the AFF Women’s Championships.

The other two semifinalists are Cambodia and Thailand, with their placing to be determined by the result of their clash. — Peter Atencio

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