The Philippine Under-14 Girls National Football Team opened their campaign in the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U14 Regional Championship with a 3-1 win over host Laos, at the National University Stadium in Vientiane late Tuesday.
The Filipina booters relied on a late second half outburst to notch their first win in the regional youth-level tourney.
The Laotians showed their mastery of their home turf early in the match with a goal by Phoutsady Louang Amath in the 29th minute for a 1-0 advantage toward halftime.
However, the Filipinas came back strong in the second half to post three goals.
Maria Lazo, from the National Capital Region, scored the opening goal for the Philippines in the 59th minute to level the score at 1-1.
Two Filipino-American standouts Katelyn Alexander and Carleigh Frilles each notched a goal to seal the win for their team before the end of regulation.
Alexander registered her goal in the 68th minute while Frilles’ in the fourth minute of added time.
With the win, the Philippines is now tied with Thailand in the first and second spots though the latter enjoys a point advantage on goal difference. Laos is occupying the third spot after the opening day.
The Philippines is housed in Group A together with Thailand, Laos and Cambodia while Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and defending champions Vietnam are in Group B.
The Philippine team will be playing three games in the preliminary round of the tournament with the aim of clinching a berth in the crossover semifinals to be held on June 4.
Joyce Landangan is the head coach of the Philippines assisted by former national football team standouts Isabella Fernando, Patrice Impelido and Marielle Benitez.
Philippine Football Federation Women’s department chairperson Lalaine Sarmiento is the head of the Philippine contingent to the AFC tournament.