THE Philippines narrowly lost to higher-ranked Ireland, 1-0, in an international friendly that kicked off the Filipinas’ pre-AFF Women’s Championship training camp in Turkey.
Seeing action for the first time in Europe, the world no. 53 Filipinas put up a tough fight against the 27th-ranked Irish women but failed to stop Lily Agg from scoring the winning goal in the 37th minute.
Ms. Agg, who plays for the London City Lionesses in the Barclays Women’s Championship, tapped in a deflected ball to spell the difference in the match held at the Bellis Field in Antalya, where Isabella Flanigan’s shot off a counter was saved and Carleigh Frilles shot it wide in the Filipino booters’ scoring chances.
“Considering this was the Philippines’ first match on European soil, we showed great defensive resolve and resilience against a top quality team,” said Philippine coach Alen Stajcic.
He added that playing Ireland, which recently held world no. 2 Sweden to a 1-1 draw, provided “a great opportunity for us to learn, grow, and experience playing in the toughest continent in the world.”
“Ultimately, we were probably unlucky not to snatch a draw but there are positive signs for the future and we are building a great foundation,” said Mr. Stajcic, who earlier steered the team to a historic 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification and the Southeast Asian Games bronze.
The Filipinas head to Slovenia next to face Bosnia and Herzegovina in a pair of friendlies on June 23 and 27 before returning to Manila for their campaign in the next month’s ASEAN meet. — Olmin Leyba