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Stajcic says Filipinas much improved now but still concerned about finishing

The Filipinas have now grown leaps and bounds but there is still room for improvement. PFF
By Gil Moriones

MANILA—After qualifying in the next round of the Women's Football Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Filipinas head tactician Alen Stajcic described their comfortable 4-0 victory vs. Hong Kong as an improvement from their previous meeting in 2021.

"I thought we played well, we controlled the game well, probably our best control we’ve had this week here against a good opposition, an opposition 15 months ago we beat only 2-1 in the last minute. It just shows how much we’ve improved," Stajcic stated during the post-game interview.

Sarina Bolden, Meryll Serrano, and Quinley Quezada were the goal scorers for the 49th-ranked Filipinas against the 79th-ranked Hong Kong team which was described by Stajcic as a major development of the national football team. 

"A large part of the game was pretty good," the stalwart coach said.

However, Stajcic believes that the finishing remains a concern for the Filipinas after they once again slowed down in the second half after pulling away in the first, all the more that they would meet Asia's women's football giants very soon either in the FIFA Women's World Cup in July or the second round of the Olympic qualifiers in November.

"Our finishing has to be better if we want to compete with the big nations in Asia. We’ve improved a lot but there’s still a lot of hard work to do," he further said.

For Stajcic, meeting the likes of Japan, South and North Korea, China, and Australia is not an easy task to deal with, and not being too confident about it. 

"There’s no easy match in football, every match is different and difficult and you have to respect your opponent," he emphasized. 

"We know we’re coming up against big nations now in the next round, Australia, Japan, China, the two Koreas, Thailand, and Vietnam. It’s going to be very difficult for us and we need to be ready," he added.

Meanwhile, Bolden is satisfied with the Filipinas' performance in their weeklong qualifiers in Tajikistan. 

"It wasn’t just about beating teams, but making a stand and I think we did that today. I’m really proud of the team, really proud of the staff, and happy to move on to the next round," the Filipinas attacker said.

"Getting that first goal in the first five or six minutes was good. I'm happy with how we went into the attack, quickly. Just hoping we can repeat that moving on to the next round. It's been a couple of camps where I haven't scored but just happy to be able to contribute to the team in our hunt to go to the Olympics," she said after her play against Hong Kong.

Follow him on Twitter: @gilpuyatstation

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