The Philippine women’s national team absorbed a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Wales to open its campaign in the 2023 Pinatar Cup on Thursday in Murcia, Spain.
The Filipinas were able to keep the game scoreless for the majority of the first half until defender Dominique Randle fouled Rhiannon Roberts inside the penalty box, giving the Welsh a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Kayleigh Green calmly scored the penalty kick in the first minute of added time before the whistle sounded for halftime as the score remained at 1-0 until the end of the game.
The Filipinas had a clear shot on the goal in the 48th minute but Katrina Guillou’s volley was saved by Safia Middleton-Patel, who plays for Coventry United in the Women’s Championship in England.
The Pinatar Cup serves as a preparation for the national team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand this August.
While the loss still stung, Filipinas head coach Alen Stajcic said the team did well in its first game despite suffering from jetlag and some of the girls calling in sick on their way to Spain.
“We don’t like losing and we’ve spoken about that before but I’m really pleased with what we did tonight. There are the usual issues of not being able to keep the ball better, which is something we have to work on,” Stajcic said.
“Considering that we’re in pre-season and the opposition right in the middle of their season, the jetlag, we’ve had delayed flights, we’ve had players ill and we’ve had players coming in really late to camp. That was an amazing effort – probably one of our best in terms of effort.”
Stajcic also noted that the Filipinas can hold their heads high after standing their ground against a Welsh side that is not only ranked No. 32 in the International Football Federation women’s rankings but has a roster whose players compete in the Women’s Super League, the female counterpart of the Premier League in England.
Wales national Hayley Ladd plays for Manchester United while Roberts and Ceri Holland are from Liverpool.
Green, the lone goalscorer of the match, plays for Brighton & Hove Albion in the WSL.
“We went up against players in the super league and some of the big clubs as well so it was a really good effort and the team showed a lot of discipline defensively,” Stajcic said.
The Philippines will be facing Scotland next on Saturday.