On a night that seemingly featured a “Can you do one better?” contest, everyone involved in Philippine football came out winners; from the fans who showed up in droves, tripling the previous best showing in the semis, to the PFF which organized the best international tournament in memory and of course to the Malditas, who showed Southeast Asia what the Filipinas are capable of in football.
Facing a Thai team that beat them in the group stage, the Filipinas showed no mercy, sending the visitors home with their tails between their legs with a sound beating, 3-0, the most lopsided score in an AFF Women’s final since Australia’s 8-0 win over Thailand in the 2009 edition.
Also during that 2009 edition, the Philippines lost to Australia, 14-0, in the group stage. But in 2022, this was a different Philippines team.
After handily beating Vietnam 4-0 in the semifinals, the Malditas showed up with a we-can-win-this attitude against a Thai team whose confidence was boosted with a previous win against the host.
The Filipinas had the Thais back-pedaling for most of the first half before captain Tahnai Annis, who is becoming more reliable than your friendly delivery app, sent a perfectly-taken corner which Jessica Cowart redirected for a quick lead in the seventh.
In the 19th, a set piece by Annis resulted to a second goal. Sending the free kick into the box, the Thai cleared it out but Sofia Harrison sent it back inside the box. Another poor clearance from the Thai found Jaclyn Sawicki, who sent the ball back to the six-yard box with Katrina Guillou deftly redirecting it to the near post for 2-0.
Just like in the Vietnam match, golden girl Sarina Bolden could have increased the lead with a hat-trick of chances, including a breakaway but the Malditas striker couldn’t convert.
However, there was no denying Bolden late in the match, heading in the corner off the ground to seal the country’s greatest achievement in international football.