• The Filipinas are on the cusp of a podium finish at the 2022 AFF Women's Championship
  • Sarina Bolden and team captain Tahnai Annis led the comeback against Indonesia
  • They will first need to get past Thailand on Tuesday, July 12 to close out the Group Stage

The Philippines is continuing on its magical run in this year’s edition of the AFF Women’s Championship after a dominant comeback win over Indonesia this past Sunday, April 10.

A disastrous and lackluster effort in the first half saw the Indonesian side take a 1-0 lead going into the second half thanks to a miscue from Filipina goalkeeper Inna Palacios allowed Carla Bio Pattinasarany to draw first blood at the 37th minute.

Team captain Tahnai Annis capitalized on a cross meant for forward Isabella Flanigan, sending the ball to the back of the net to draw level with Indonesia at the 48th minute.

From then on, it was the Sarina Bolden show once again.

The midfielder born in Santa Clara, California made sure that they would remain undefeated in the tournament after a stellar hat trick performance.

Bolden's goal ar the 58th minute kickstarted her fiery showing and went on to add her second goal seven minutes later, with the game-sealing score happening in the 67th minute--all of them coming off wonderful deliveries from her teammates.

The Filipinas made counter-attacking football their main calling card throughout this tournament as they quickly and repeatedly capitalized on the Indonesians’ untimely errors to consistently put them on the backfoot.

Aggression also played a key role in the comeback as they pelted Indonesian keeper Prihatini to the tune of 24 shots compared to just three.

It was a stellar comeback of epic proportions as the Filipinas booked their spot in the knockout stages of the AFF Women’s Championships ahead of their Tuesday, July 12 matchup against Thailand.

They will only need at least a draw against Thailand to maintain their spot atop Group A.

It has been an improbable year for women’s football in the Philippines after they stunned Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Pune, India, which allowed them to reserve a spot on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Their performance then also gave them their highest ranking ever at No. 53 in the world, overtaking the men’s team in the race for country’s first-ever the first World Cup appearance.

Thailand plays at a similar pace as the Filipinas do, but being four-time champions of the tournament does give them a bit of an edge in terms of experience over the hosts.

It is also worth noting that the Philippines has never had a podium finish in the AFF Women’s Championships.

As the tourney winds down to the finals match on Sunday, July 17 at 7:30PM Philippine Standard Time, this current crop of Filipinas could add another accolade to their growing list of achievements when it is all said and done.

Sarina Bolden
Midfielder Sarina Bolden reacts after scoring her third goal against Indonesia in the Group Stage of the 2022 AFF Women's Championship at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines on July 10, 2022. PFF