Filipinas U-17 can’t wait to prove worth   

Members of the Philippine team that secured a historic qualification to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-17 Women’s Asian Cup can’t wait for that tournament to get going and show that it can compete with its regional counterparts.

“We finally made history and we’re going to the Asian Cup,” said Isabella Preston, whose goal in the 56th minute enabled the Filipinas to defeat Vietnam, 1-0, in the final game of their second round qualification on Sunday in Hanoi.

Preston scored the winner with a free kick, enough for the team coached by senior team assistant Sinisa Cohadzic to claim the final Asian Cup slot for placing second in Group B behind Australia.

Now the team will join host Indonesia, defending champion Japan, North Korea, China, South Korea, Thailand in the continental tournament for another historic feat for Philippine women’s football after the senior squad’s participation in the Fifa (International Federation of Association Football) Women’s World Cup in July.

“We put everything on the line. We’re so excited to go to the Asian Cup,” said team captain Ariana Markey. Nina Mathelus scored seven goals in the two rounds while Preston found the net twice, including the winning goal against Vietnam that came from far out.

“I knew that I can score from a long-distance range so I just trust myself and went through it,” said Preston. “And when it went in, I was in complete awe.” INQ

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