Philippines Beats Nepal 5-0 in Asian Women's Football Game

The host Philippines, led by star midfielder Camaclang, scored a 5-0 win over Nepal Monday in the 12th Asian Women's Football Championship at the Iloilo Stadium in Iloilo City .

The petite and pretty midfielder provided the spark by scoring the first two goals as the Filipina eleven chalked up their initial victory in Group C--and their first ever in the tourney since they began competing in this event in 1993.

Earlier, Nami Otake scored four goals to power Japan to a 9-0 rout of Thailand in the same group.

"We were able to execute our game plan well and keep the pressure on our opponents. This win is great for us," said Philippine coach Marlon Maro after the well-earned accomplishment.

Inspired by 2,000 Ilonggo fans, Camaclang galvanized her teammates with a looping 35-yard goal in the 20th minute, the ball landing just behind Nepal goalie Lila Tapa, bouncing into the top left corner of the net.

Camaclang, who underwent a two-month training stint in the United States just before the start of the tournament, then added her second just before the interval in what could be considered the goal of the match.

Amid a swarm of Nepalese defenders, the diminutive Filipina saw a slight opening and volleyed from 20 feet inside the goalbox that gave the Philippines a 2-0 halftime lead.

The host team never looked back after that as they continued to dominate the second half, with Karen Cacho (76th), Shella Barlovento (80th) and Rachel delos Reyes (90th) adding to the tally.

They were also able to survive the loss of first string forward Marinella Salvador who pulled out of the tournament on Sunday due to nagging back injury. She was replaced by Karen Octaviano.

"Our main goal is to reach the semifinals. With this win, I think we have a good chance," added Maro later as his charges had a three-day respite before going up against Uzbekistan on Friday.

Maro said the Uzbeks were practically the same team they lost to 1-3 in the 1997 Asian championship held in Guangzhou, China.

"But I believe we are better prepared for them this time," Maro said.

The pone-tailed Otake, a Women's World Cup veteran and Japan's top striker, toyed with the Thai defense in the first half to score goals in the 10th, 35th, 39th and 45th minutes.

Highlight of that scoring rampage was her second goal, a solo breakaway where she eluded one Thai defender before outfoxing Thai goalie Praew Semaksuk to blast in a 20-foot roller.

Asako Takakura (10th and 26th) and Tamaki Uchiyama (17th and 45th)added two goals apiece while Yasuyo Tamagaishi (6th) accounted for the other Japanese goal.

"Most of our players are new faces after the World Cup. We were a bit tentative. But the match went well," said Japanese coach Suzuki Tamotsu through an interpreter.

Suzuki added they were keen on topping their group to assure their place in the semifinals.

On Sunday, Kazakhstan defeated Hong Kong, China 8-0 in the Group B in Bacolod City.

Play will resume in Bacolod City on Tuesday with China gunning for its second win against Guam at 4:00 p.m. and Kazakhstan trying to keep pace when it faces South Korea at 6:00 p.m.

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