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Full circle moment as Alen Stajcic beats HK anew in 100th match as national team coach

Alen Stajcic beat Hong Kong anew in his 100th international football match. PFF (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Alen Stajcic's first stint as officially a national team head coach was when the Australian women's football team appointed him in September 2014.

But not too many people know that he was put in charge of the Matildas on an interim basis in 2007 during the Olympic qualifiers at that time.

With Stajcic at the helm—albeit temporarily—the Matildas began their road to Beijing with a 15-0 rout of Hong Kong at home.

Ninety-nine matches later, he has found himself locking horns with Hong Kong again in an Olympic qualifier, this time as the Philippines' mentor.

Consider the Tuesday night match at the Hisor Central Stadium in Tajikistan as Stajcic's full circle moment.

"My first match as a head coach was an interim match against Hong Kong in 2007 and the 100th is against Hong Kong again in an Olympic Games qualifier again which is really remarkable," Stajcic said.

Although it was not as big of a blowout as before, the Filipinas gave Stajcic another win against Hong Kong in his 100th international football match, and he would take it, all the more that the Filipinas clinched a spot in the second round of the road to Paris with it.

"I'm really pleased that we won, I'm really pleased that we got through, I'm really pleased that we performed well as a group," Stajcic said.

Thirty-six matches into his current stint as the Filipinas' coach, Stajcic believes that there is still room for improvement for them if they want to give the Asian football elites a fight or even the world's best when they make their first appearance in the FIFA Women's World Cup.

"To really go to that next level, we need to be better," Stajcic said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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