Bolden and Philippines fall to Scotland

Meryll Serrano scored the Philippines’ first goal in the 2023 Pinatar Cup, but the Filipinas could not complete a comeback, falling to a 2-1 defeat to Scotland last Saturday night at the Pinatar Arena here.

Serrano’s beautifully-taken free kick past Scotland goalkeeper Jenna Fife in the 90th minute after Bella Flanigan was fouled by Jenna Clark gave the Filipinas a lifeline and sparked celebrations from the Pinoy crowd.

But Scotland, the 2020 winners of the Pinatar Cup, hung on for a first victory in the four-nation invitational tournament.

Lauren Davidson’s deflected effort in the 39th minute put Scotland in front, before Rachel Corsie doubled the advantage with a header off a corner. The ball appeared to hit Corsie’s hand before finding the back of the net.

“Again, we fought all the way until the end, and we’re able to get that late so our effort and our resilience are always there,” said captain Tahnai Annis. “And I think we did create some better opportunities for ourselves (compared to the last game).”

Filipinas coach Alen Stajcic noted improvements on the ball for the Filipinas as they looked more dangerous going forward.

But he also acknowledged the difference in fitness levels as Scotland’s players are mostly in the middle of their season, while the Filipinas are still in pre-season with their clubs.

Stajcic made three changes to the side that lost to Wales, handing the Australia-based duo of Jackie Sawicki and Sarina Bolden and Katrina Guillou a start with Dominique Randle, Carleigh Frilles and Flanigan making way.

The Filipinas carved out two nice opportunities in the first half, but the final ball was too heavy for Guillou, while Annis also couldn’t finish a good chance.

“We had those chances that could have changed the way the game played out,” said Annis. “I think it was more of a back and forth kind of game that anyone could have taken that game, and it was just a matter of winning our moments, and Scotland won more moments than we did. But the team effort, again. I think we can continue to progress from that, going into the Iceland match in a few days.”

The Filipinas wrap up their Pinatar Cup campaign against Iceland at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday (3:30 a.m. in Manila on Wednesday).