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Football chief stays positive

Katrina Guillo (left) and Sara Eggesvik (right) prevent Mira Moon of South Korea from attacking during their women’s football pool play match of the 19th Asian Games. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF KOREA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

HANGZHOU, China — Despite a sorry 5-1 loss to powerhouse South Korea on Monday, the national women’s football team is not yet ready to throw in the white towel of surrender in the 19th Asian Games here.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said he remains hopeful, knowing that the Filipinas are still in contention with a 1-1 record.

“We still have a chance. We still have a game against Myanmar,” said Araneta, whose wards opened their campaign with a 3-1 victory over Hong Kong at the Wenzhou Sports Center Stadium.

The Filipinas will face the world No. 51 Myanmar on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for a victory that will boost their chances to gain a spot in the quarterfinals.

There are five groups of three teams each, and only the top team in each group will advance outright. The three other slots to the quarterfinals will go to the top three among the remaining teams.

Mariano said it remains a must-win game against Myanmar. Then the Philippines, ranked No. 44 in the world, will have to wait for the final results of the other groups.

“The most important thing is for us to beat Myanmar. Then we hope for the best that we land in the top three among the remaining teams,” Mariano said.

“If we beat Myanmar we have six points. Then we have a chance depending on the goal difference of the other teams.”

Against the South Koreans, the Filipinas scored first courtesy of Sarina Bolden in the eighth minute. But that proved to be the last as the South Koreans took control of the match the rest of the way.

The South Koreans equalized in the 12th minute then piled up the goals in the 44th, 52nd, 56th and 70th minutes en route to the runaway victory.

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