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Filipinas brace for 'tough game' vs. HK as OQT Round 2 spot at stake

Carleigh Frilles might need a much better performance for the Filipinas to eliminate Hong Kong. PFF (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Coach Alen Stajcic said that Hong Kong is not to be taken lightly even if the Philippine women's football team is far above them ahead of an all-important battle in the first round of the Olympic qualifying tournament on Tuesday night in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

While the Filipinas, ranked 49th in the world, are the heavy favorites against their counterparts from Hong Kong, 79th in the latest FIFA rankings, Stajcic is expecting their 7 p.m. (Philippine Time) showdown to be a grind-out.

Both the Filipinas and Hong Kong are on top of Group E with six points each, but only one of them, the winner of their showdown, will move on to the second round of the qualifiers.

The Filipinas, who own the tiebreaker with a very high goal difference of plus-12, could clinch the second round spot with a draw, but Stajcic is aware that Hong Kong could go all-in for that huge win.

“Hong Kong is on six points just like us. It will be a tough game, a very close game,” Stajcic said.

He is hopeful, though, that as long as they stay fit, the Filipinas will not just settle for the stalemate but go for the exclamation point

“If we play well, I’m confident we can get the job done,” Stajcic said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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