Matchday One - Group A: Jordan 1-2 Philippines
Amman: Sarina Bolden’s late goal helped the Philippines secure a high creditable 2-1 victory over host nation Jordan on Friday as they began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 campaign in dramatic fashion.
On a night of high emotion at the Amman International Stadium, Bolden’s strike ensured all three points for the Southeast Asians as they secured a vital opening day win and second place in the group behind table-topping China PR who defeated Thailand 4-0 earlier in the day.
After an evenly contested opening, it was Jordan who threatened first, Philippines goalkeeper Kearra Bastes-Jones smartly gathering Maysa Jbarah’s drive from distance on 14 minutes.
With Jordan continuing to press, the breakthrough came just sixty seconds later when the lively Jbarah expertly converted captain Stephanie Al Naber’s pinpoint pass.
Despite their early setback, the Southeast Asians responded brightly, with Maria Park’s curling free-kick forcing Salma Ghazal into a fine save just inches under her crossbar.
As the first half came to a close, Jbarah was desperately close to doubling her side’s advantage but her shot from close-range fizzed narrowly wide of the upright.
When the players emerged for the second period, it took the Philippines only six minutes to restore parity, Jesse Shugg’s free-kick from distance coming off the head of Jordan defender Yasmeen Khair and looping into the net.
Jordan subsequently struggled to maintain a foothold, and Jessica Miclat came close to grabbing a second for the visitors with a fine angled drive, before Ghazal reacted smartly to smother Quinley Quezada’s effort from only eight yards.
Worse was to come for Jordan however, as with 76 minutes on the clock, Bolden latched onto Hali Long’s pass to expertly steer the ball home past an onrushing Ghazal.
Luna Al Masri’s disallowed goal and Jbarah’s last gasp header against a post, briefly hinted at a Jordan revival, but it was not to be as a resolute Philippines defending helped Rabah Benlarbi’s charges see out the rest of the match and secure a famous success.
China PR now await the Philippines on Monday, while Jordan will look to make amends when they face Thailand on the same day.