Filipinas honorably exit 2023 Asian Games

MANILA, Philippines – The Filipinas ended their Asian Games quest after absorbing an honorable loss against Asian behemoth, Team Japan, 8-1 on Saturday, September 30 in Hangzhou, China.

Win or lose, the Filipinas had nothing to be ashamed of as the Philippine women’s football team faced a continental giant and heavily-favored to win, Team Japan in the round-of-sixteen.

Filipinas honorably exit 2023 Asian Games
Filipinas’ quest for Asian Games gold ended after a grueling match against powerhouse Japan in the quarterfinals. Photo Credit: Facebook/Philippine Women's National Football Team

As underdogs in the match, the Filipinas pursued their rivals vigorously from the start. Despite Japan's ball possession, the Filipinas showcased exceptional defense, denying Japan any scoring opportunities in the first half.

Olivia McDaniel’s goalkeeping abilities were amazingly superhuman as she deflected every Japanese attack whether from the penalty box or beyond.

Japan’s defense was also exceptional but the Philippines had quite a few decent shots, one came from Sarina Bolden but just a few feet away from hitting the corner left of the goalpost.

The Philippines faced a stroke of misfortune as their Team Captain, Hali Long, received a red card for a tackling infraction against Remina Chiba. This pivotal moment allowed Chiba an opportunity to score through a free kick from 40 feet out. However, Chiba's attempt sailed wide of the target, sparing the Philippines from conceding a goal.

Long’s ejection was such unfortunate as it left the Philippines’ with just 10 players on the turf against a fully-functional Japanese squad.

McDaniel’s heroic acts continued. Yuzuki Yamamoto had an open look from the left side but the Filipina goalkeeper swatted the ball with her outstretched arm.

The scoring drought ended at the 38th minute as Japan’s Momoko Tanikawa hit the first goal of the match by way of a penalty kick.

McDaniels went down at the extension period after colliding with a Japanese striker during a save. The goalie however, stood up and shook it up.

The match officials temporarily suspended the first half with a couple of minutes left due to the heavy rain condition where Japan led the Philippines 1-nil.

With a sense of urgency, the Japanese swiftly returned to the field for the second half. They launched a relentless assault on the Philippines' goal, but it was McDaniels who once again showcased her exceptional skill, expertly swatting away every football that came her way.

Mental lapse for the Filipinas at the 58th mark for not clearing the loseball in the penalty box that led to Haruka Osawa goal for the 2-nil advantage.

In less than 5 minutes after the second goal, Chiba caught McDaniels off guard for Japan’s third goal.

Against the odds, the Philippines notched their first-ever goal at the 67th minute, courtesy of Bolden's off a corner throw. This cut the lead to 3-1 and extended Bolden's scoring streak from the preliminaries.With that goal, Bolden has scored in all games starting from the preliminaries.

Just as the Philippines started to bounce back, Japan dropped another goal via Mami Ueno’s penalty kick followed by another one to widen the gap to 5-1 and 20 more minutes left on the game clock.

With two goals in-a-row, Ueno wasn’t done yet as the Japanese team captain scored her third goal within 10 minutes for the insurmountable 6-1 advantage over the hapless Filipinas.

Just before the 90th minute, the Japanese placed the icing on top as they added 2 more goals coming from Osawa to close their quarterfinals campaign against the Philippines, 8-1.

With the win, Japan is now through to the semifinals with a potential showdown with a SEA ace, Thailand.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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