Friday, January 28, 2022

Australia tops Group B in Women's Asian Cup

Sam Kerr dealing the Thai defense. c/o Asian Football Confederation.

Australia officially finishes on top of Group B in the Women's Asian Cup, emerging as 2-1 winners over Thailand in Mumbai on Thursday.

With an automatic berth in the Women's World Cup in their back pocket and a spot in the quarterfinals already assured coming into the match, Tony Gustavsson opted to switch things up and opted to rest their regulars, including Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, and Caitlin Foord.

The Matildas continued to impose their style on play, but were kept at by the Thais, at least for the first thirty minutes.

The Aussies finally broke through after 39 minutes, as Remy Siemsen passed it to Emily van Egmond, who then found the bottom corner past Thai keeper Tiffany Sornpao.

Kyra Cooney-Cross almost doubled the lead three minutes later, with Pikul Kheuanpet preventing it to cross the line.

The second half saw Thailand's best scoring opportunity go to waste, as Suchawadee Nildhamrong unable to take advantage of her interception of Cortnee Vine's throw-in. As for the Matildas, they lost Holly McNamara to a knee injury, whilst Siemsen's shot was denied by Sornpao.

Gustavsson inserted Mary Fowler and Kyah Simon to add some oomph to their attack, but both misfired on their chances.

Australia found their second in the 80th minute, as Sornpao spills Simon's cross, with the ball headed towards Kerr scoring from point-blank range for her seventh goal of the tournament.

Thailand would pull one back in stoppage time, as Nipawan Panyosuk lobbed one beyond Lydia Williams.

Having won all of its Group Stage matches, Australia now face Korea in the quarterfinals, whilst Thailand ends up as one of the two third-place teams through to the next round, setting up a matchup against defending champions Japan.

Philippines earns Women's Asian Cup quarterfinal spot

c/o Asian Football Confederation

Thursday night was another memorable part of Philippine Football, as the Philippines booked their spot in the quarterfinals of the Women's Asian Cup with a 6-0 victory over Indonesia at Pune.

Five Pinays got into the scoresheet, led by Tahnai Annis and her brace.

Motivated by the desire to book their spot in the FIFA Women's World Cup, they applied pressure on their fellow ASEAN opposition, hoping to capitalize on mistakes.

It took them four minutes to coax that out, as Vivi Oktavia Riski was called for handball inside the area, awarding a penalty for the Philippines.

Sarina Bolden sent the spot kick towards the left upright, but Katrina Guillou redeemed her teammate shortly. After receiving Carleigh Frilles' cross, she then slotted it past Riska Aprilia to open the scoring for the evening.

Bolden would eventually secure her goal in the 27th minute, heading home a Jessica Miclat free kick to double the lead.

Indonesia managed to keep it to that scoreline until the halftime break, many thanks to Aprilia's efforts.

The second half saw continued pressure from the Filipinas, and they got their third goal after a poor clearance found its way to Tahnai Annis, who struck the ball towards the bottom right corner in the 56th minute.

A second penalty was awarded in the 73rd minute with Dominique Randle was fouled inside the area. Miclat converted it this time for the Philippines to make it 4-0.

Annis netted a brace with a sensational strike from distance in the 83rd minute, before Malea Cesar completed the scoring in injury time, as the substitute took advantage of an empty net situation thanks to the heroics of Sara Castaneda.

The win ensures the Philippines finishes in second place, setting up a quarterfinal matchup against Chinese-Taipei.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Chinese-Taipei earns Women's Asian Cup quarterfinal slot

c/o Asian Football Confederation

Chinese-Taipei has snapped up a quarterfinal spot in the Women's Asian Cup on Wednesday night, defeating Iran, 5-0 to cap off Group A action at the D.Y. Patil Stadium.

Lai Li-Chin led the way with a hat trick, with Chen Yen-Ping and Wang Hsiang-Huei each netting a goal in the win.

With both teams suffering from defeats against China, Chinese-Taipei came into the match just needing at least a draw to go through, but it was Iran who had the early chance three minutes in, as keeper Cheng Ssu-Yu parried off a Melika Motevalli header.

Chinese-Taipei did have an immediate response a minute later, with Lee Hsiu-Chin finding Lai for the team captain to slot her shot towards the bottom left corner.

Iran had a couple of chances to equalize in the 21st minute, but Cheng saved Afsaneh Chatrenoor's shot and Fatemeh Amineh's header was cleared.

Lai would net her second goal in the 31st minute, as her cross sailed over Zohreh Khodaei's head and into the net.

Chen's goal happened in the 40th minute off of a close range effort to put an end to scoring in the first half.

The second half was not much different, as the East Asians continued to put pressure of the defense, eventually forcing a penalty in the 63rd minute.

Motevalli fouled Su Yu-Hsuan inside the box, and Lai completing her hat trick by sending Khodaei the wrong way a couple of minutes later.

Wang would score the final goal of the match in 78th minute, as the substitute received Su Yu-Hsuan's through ball and then slotting it home.

The win allows Chinese-Taipei to finish second in Group A and will face off against the second-place team in Group B in the quarterfinals.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Korea, Japan secure Women's Asian Cup quarterfinal berths

Korea and Japan both earned their spots in the quarterfinals on Monday, dispatching their respective ASEAN opposition at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.

The Taeguk Ladies secured theirs first with a 2-0 victory over Myanmar in the afternoon, with Lee Geum-min scoring early in the second half, and an own goal to secure the three points.

Colin Bell's side had to earn this result, as the Burmese frustrated the Koreans, to the extent that the Englishman had to bring in captain Ji So-yun off the bench just over a half-an-hour in.

It took 49 minutes for Korea to finally break through, as Jang Sel-gi sent one inside the box, with Cho So-hyun heading down towards Lee to strike towards the net.

The Koreans tried to add to that lead, but Jang's attempt hit the crossbar, whist Ji's and Lee's chances were saved by May Zin Nwe.

The second goal finally came with seven minutes remaining, with Kim Hye-ri's cross went towards Ji, with the Chelsea Women stalwart's header being deflected inside the post by Tun Khin Mo Mo.

Later in the evening, Japan joined Korea into the quarters with a 3-0 victory over Vietnam.

With a 5-0 victory over Myanmar under their belts, Futoshi Ikeda shuffled the deck against the SEA Games gold medalists, only retaining Saki Kumagai, Risa Shimizu, and Mina Tanaka in the starting eleven.

Yui Narumiya broke through in the 38th minute for the lone goal of the first half.

The second goal came five minutes after the start of the second half, with Kumagai quick to respond after Tanaka's head hitting the woodwork.

Narumiya would cap off the scoring eight minutes later, as she became the target of a Kumagai corner that the INAC Kobe midfielder would easily convert.

Vietnam tried to enter the scoresheet in the final twenty minutes, but keeper Momo Tanaka easily handled Pham Hai Yen's attempt from distance in what was their best opportunity in the 75th minute.

Quarterfinal spots assured, Japan and Korea tangle on Thursday to see who will top Group C, whilst Myanmar and Vietnam face off to see who can finish third in the group.

Australia secures Women's Asian Cup quarterfinal berth

Sam Kerr

Australia snapped up one of quarterfinal spots in the AFC Women's Asian Cup with a 4-0 victory over the Philippines at the Mumbai Football Arena on Monday.

Fresh from an 18-0 shellacking of Indonesia, the Matildas were fancied to easily dispatch the Philippines, who needed another late finish to secure a victory.

But in a surprise to many, the Filipinas were up to the challenge of trying to make things difficult for the title contenders.

In fact, the Philippines had the first scoring opportunity six minutes, as a returning Sarina Bolden found Chandler McDaniel, only for the latter to send it just wide.

The Matildas managed to assert themselves and took control of the match afterwards, but the rest of the first half saw their chances being stymied by a determined squad, led by Kiara Fontanilla on goal and defenders Hali Long and Dominique Randle.

With the first half ending in a goalless stalemate, Australia kept up the pressure after the break, with scoring opportunities from Ellie Carpenter and Mary Fowler just missing

The Matildas finally broke through in the 51st minute, with Kerr converting a header off a Steph Catley corner kick.

They would then double the advantage a few minutes later, with Randle unfortunately lobbing the ball back into her own net trying to defend against Kerr.

Emily van Egmond put her name on the scoresheet for Australia's third goal, a header to net her fourth goal in the tournament in the 67th minute, before Mary Fowler capped off scoring by sending the ball onto the bottom corner twenty minutes later.

Tony Gustavsson's side now tops Group B with six points, and will lock that slot up with at least a draw against Thailand on Thursday.

As for the Philippines, they still maintain foothold over Thailand thanks to their head-to-head tiebreaker advantage. They face Indonesia that same day knowing a win definitely assures themselves of a spot in the quarterfinals.

Thais keep Women's Asian Cup quarterfinal hopes alive

Kanyanat Chetthabutr

Thailand kept their hopes of advancing out of the Group Stage in the AFC Women's Asian Cup alive by defeating Indonesia, 4-0, on Monday night at the D. Y. Patil Stadium.

Kanyanat Chettabur netted a hat trick to lead the Thais, who were fresh from a surprise 1-0 defeat to the Philippines in the opener.

She was aggressive from the get go against the Indonesians, putting pressure on the defense with a couple of attempts inside the six-yard box.

The first half continued with Taneekarn Dangda joining Chetthabutr in securing more scoring opportunities, whilst Irravadee Makris's chance was saved by Fani Supriyanto.

It took 27 minutes to figure out the Indonesian puzzle, as a Jaruwan Chaiyarak corner kick found its way to an unmarked Chetthabutr.

The second goal came nine minutes later with Dangda setting up Chettabutr for a tap-in.

After the halftime break, the Thais continued to put pressure on their opposition, netting a chance for a third goal in the 52nd minute, as Wilaporn Boothduang set up Dangda for an attempt that Supriyanto saved.

Unfortunately, the keeper would suffer an injury that forced the coaching staff to replace her with Riska Aprilia at the hour mark.

Chetthabutr would complete her hat trick in the 71st minute with some individual brilliance.

Markis would complete the scoring for the night five minutes later after she lobbed one over the Aprilia.

With the win, the Thais are level on points with the Philippines, but with the latter still holding down second spot in Group B owing to head-to-head tiebreaker.

They will face off against an Australian side on Thursday that has already secured a spot in the next round. As for the Indons, they will head to Pune to face the Philippines to close out pool play.

Monday, January 24, 2022

China secures quarterfinal berth in Women's Asian Cup

Happy birthday, Wang Shuang! Photo c/o Asian Football Confederation

China cruised their way to a 7-0 victory over Iran in AFC Women's Asian Cup action on Sunday, snapping up the first quarterfinal spot in the tournament.

Fresh from their 4-0 victory over Chinese-Taipei on Thursday, the Steel Roses sought to ensure the same outcome was in play, whilst Iran looked to build from their goalless draw against hosts India.

And China did not take long to force the issue.

Zohreh Koudaei, named as the player of the game of India-Iran, was tested early by the Chinese attack. Wang Shanshan had two attempts saved by the Zobahan keeper in the first fifteen minutes.

But China finally cracked the puzzle in the 27th minute, as Wang Shuang's shot from the edge of the box found the bottom corner to put the eight-time champions ahead.

They doubled a lead just before halftime, as Zhang Xin set up Xiao Yuyi in the 43rd minute.

Iran hoped to change things up by inserting their teenage sensation Negin Zandi, but China managed to extend their lead further, as Li Mengwen was fouled inside the area, leading to Wang Shuang converting a penalty in the 49th minute to make it 3-0.

The rout became officially on with Xiao Yuyi serving up captain Wang Shanshan twice in a span of four minutes to turn it into a 5-0 blowout, with substitute Tang Jiali taking just four minutes to score her own brace in the 78th and 82nd minute.

The win, combined with the recent developments forcing India's withdrawal from the Women's Asian Cup due to COVID-19 complications, means they are officially the top team in Group A.

Iran's hopes to make the quarterfinals are still possible, as they face Chinese-Taipei on Wednesday needing a win to advance.

India forced out of Women's Asian Cup

Photo c/o AFC

India took themselves out of the AFC Women's Asian Cup on Sunday night, after the team was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team was unable to field the minimum number of thirteen players for their matchup against Chinese-Taipei, slated to take place at 10pm PST at the D. Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

The Asian Football Confederation released this statement on Sunday:

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ match between Chinese Taipei and India at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai could not be played today.

Following several positive cases of COVID-19, India failed to name the required minimum of 13 players for the Group A match against Chinese Taipei. In accordance with Article 4.1 of the ‘Special Rules Applicable to AFC Competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (Special Rules), India was therefore unable to participate in the match and the full provisions of Article 4.1 will apply.

Further, the inability of India to participate in the match also triggers Article 6 of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ regulations. 

The AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ will continue to be played as scheduled with the Group winners, runners-up and the two best third-placed teams qualifying to the Quarter-finals.

The matter will now be referred to the relevant AFC Committee(s) in accordance with the applicable regulations.

The AFC has maintained an open line of communication with the teams and participating Member Associations throughout the competition to deal with all their concerns and enquiries in a timely manner. 

The AFC Medical Team continues to work closely with the Local Organising Committee and the AIFF to prioritise the health and wellbeing of the teams, officials and stakeholders. Appropriate medical care is being provided to the infected players and the AFC wishes them a full and speedy recovery.

Article 4.1 specifically states:

If a Participating Team/Participating Club has less than thirteen (13) Participating Players (including one [1] goalkeeper) available for a Match for any reason (whether or not relating to COVID-19), the relevant Participating Team/Participating Club shall not be able to participate in the Match. Such Participating Team/Participating Club shall be held responsible for the Match not taking place and shall be considered to have withdrawn from the relevant Competition. The relevant Participating Team/Participating Club and its affiliated Member Association shall be subject to the provisions of the relevant Competition regulations regarding the consequences of withdrawal, as applicable.

Notable provisions on Section 6 includes a fine, as well as potential ineligibility in the next edition of the Women's Asian Cup.

All-India Football Federation President Praful Pratel released a statement:

“We are as disappointed as probably the entire nation would be right now with this unwarranted situation. However, the players' health and well-being are of paramount importance to us, and it cannot be compromised under any circumstances. I wish all the infected players and team officials a swift and full recovery. They will be well supported by the AIFF and AFC.”

“Our support for the Blue Tigresses will continue, and we will work to ensure that our players come back stronger. The AIFF also thanks the fans and is grateful for their continuous support in the joint endeavour to take Indian Football Forward Together.,”

“The team is heartbroken, and I request all to respect their feelings and sentiments. I am proud of the great promise the team showed in their first match, and am confident that they will prove their mettle in the near future. This is not the end of the world. The promise on display in the first match against IR Iran was there for all to see, and am confident they will bounce back from this temporary setback.”

“Unfortunately, this happened to us despite the best measures put in place, and it is sheer bad luck that it happened to us. Let there be no fingers pointed at any. We need to understand this is a pandemic situation, and no bubble is foolproof around the world.”

“The AIFF also thanks the fans and is grateful for their continuous support in the joint effort to take Indian Football Forward Together.”

As a result, China will officially top Group A and earn a spot in the quarterfinals, with Chinese-Taipei and Iran set to face off later in the week to see which side will join the Steel Roses there.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Japan, Korea dispatch ASEAN opposition in Women's Asia Cup

Group C action took place on Friday with East Asian sides securing masterful victories against their respective ASEAN opponents in the AFC Women's Asian Cup in Pune, India.

Defending champions Japan kicked off their campaign with a 5-0 victory over Myanmar.

The Nadeshiko stamped their class early on with opportunities from Riko Ueki and Mina Tanaka, eventually breaking through in the 22nd minute, as Yui Hasegawa sending a cross towards Ueki's way with the latter heading it in at the edge of the six-yard box.

Japan had the chance to quickly double the lead, but May Zin Nwe blocked Tanaka's effort.

Hasegawa had her chance to get into the scoresheet later in the first half, but was denied by the crossbar. The West Ham Women midfielder finally scored early in the second half off an assist from Ueki.

Hikaru Naomoto netted the third goal of the game off her free kick in the 53rd minute, with fellow substitute Yui Narumiya making it 4-0 after seventy minutes.

Hasegawa completed the scoring for Japan in injury time, securing a brace by clipping one over Nwe.

In the other match in Group C saw Korea take advantage of a shorthanded Vietnamese side, 3-0.

Captain Ji So-yun secured the opening goal four minutes in, receiving a pass from Choe Yu-ri and converting the scoring opportunity.

The lead then doubled after an own goal from Tran Thi Phuong Thao three minutes later, heading the ball back into her own net trying to prevent Son Hwa-yeon from scoring.

Even with six players made unavailable coming into the match, the SEA Games gold medalists tried their best to mitigate the Korean advance. Vietnam would have their own scoring opportunity in the 38th minute off a set piece, but Pham Hai Yen was unable to get a handle off the free kick from Chuong Thi Kieu.

Korea almost netted a third goal in the second half, as Tran denied Choe from close range after the latter received the ball from Cho So-hyun.

The Taeguk Ladies finally secured their third goal off a handball in the 79th minute, which Ji coolly sent into the bottom left corner a couple of minutes later.

The East Asian teams swap ASEAN opponents on Monday, as Korea takes on Myanmar and Japan takes on Vietnam.

Pilipinas claims Women's Asia Cup opener

Pilipinas in celebratory mood.

History was achieved on Friday night in Navi Mumbai, as the Philippines finally breaks through against Thailand in AFC Women's Asian Cup action, 1-0, at the D.Y. Patil Stadium.

Chandler McDaniel scored the game-winner from distance in the 81st minute, a chance that was mishandled by Waraporn Boonsing, letting it cross the line.

With the victory, the Filipinas ended a twelve-match losing streak to the SEA Games silver medalists.

The match started off with the Philippines on the offensive, but the early chance came first from the Thais, with Saowalak Pengngam finding Miranda Nild, but her chance was deflected.

Another opportunity came from Orapin Waenngoen, but did not faze Olivia Davies-McDaniel. The Milwaukee alumna also saved an attempt from Nipawan Panyosuk.

The Philippines had their own scoring opportunities in the first half, with debutant Katrina Guillou smashing it into the back of the net, but was called offside, then a 35-yard strike from Quinley Quezada was saved by Boonsing.

With both teams in a goalless stalemate in the first half, they each had their chances after the break.

Pengngam found Nutwadee Pram-nak at the edge of the area, but Davies-McDaniel easily handled that one.

Quezada and McDaniel had their shots just past the hour mark, but their chances failed to find the target.

Chandler McDaniel scored the winner in the 81st minute as the Philippines boosted their hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals, while Thailand were left to rue their missed chances.

Thailand, AFC Women’s Asian Cup winners in 1983, got into the action in the second minute \

Despite being reduced to counter-attacks, the Philippines had two clear-cut chances just after the hour mark with Quinley Quezada and Chandler McDaniel both just failing to find the target from inside the box.

The Thais tried their best to find an equalizer in the final minutes, but the Filipinas held firm behind stellar defending from their back line led by Guillou, fellow debutant Dominique Randle, and Hali Long.

With a win under their belt, the Philippines heads into their matchup on Monday against title contenders Australia with confidence and momentum.

As for the Thais, they face off against Indonesia that same day with both sides seeking to rebuild theirs.

Kerr makes history in Australian demolition of Indonesia

Australia on a roll

Australia flexed its muscles in its AFC Women's Asian Cup opener, dominating Indonesia, 18-0 on Friday at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Nine different players scored goals for The Matildas, including a historic five from Sam Kerr.

The Chelsea FCW striker started the day needing one to tie the legendary Tim Cahill in the all-time scoring charts for Australia, and managed to secure that nine minutes in by receiving an Emily van Egmond pass.

She would pass the Everton legend a couple of minutes later, off another van Egmond assist.

The floodgates proceeded, as Kerr turned provider for the third goal of the match, feeding Caitlin Foord in the fourteenth minute. Mary Fowler then made it 4-0 in the seventeenth minute. Hayley Raso netted the fifth seven minutes later.

Kerr secured her hat trick from the spot in the 26th minute, with Ellie Carpenter following that up with an amazing strike in the 35th minute.

Australia found two more goals before the end of the first half, with a Kerr tap-in in the 36th minute and van Egmond converting from the spot four minutes afterwards.

Tony Gustavsson made four changes at the half, but the beat went on as Carpenter netted her second one from distance. Kerr would net her fifth and final goal in the 54th minute, then served an assist on van Egmond's second goal three minutes afterward. The latter would net her own hat trick in the 69th minute.

Kerr would have a final chance to improve her tally, but she skied her penalty chance in the 61st. Holly McNamara would then come on in the 68th minute to replace her as Tony's final substitute.

Three of the four halftime substitutes tacked on goals in the second half, with Tameka Yallop in the 59th minute, followed by Kyah Simon in the 71st minute and Aivi Luik in the 79th minute.

Raso capped off scoring in the 88th minute to ensure Australia's biggest-ever victory in the competition.

The Matildas will face off against the Philippines on Monday, whilst Indonesia picks up the pieces against Thailand.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Striegl set for UFC return with documentary

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Mark Striegl is set to make his return to the Octagon next month, as the Filipino-American mixed martial artist goes up against Chas Skelly in a featherweight matchup in UFC Fight Night 202 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Striegl is looking to bounce back after a disappointing debut back in October, having been knocked out  in the first round by Said Nurmagomedov in UFC Fight Night 180.

He shares, "I am super excited about this fight. I have signed a contract for the fight. Oddly enough, Chas and I have the same professional fight record of 18-3-0 (wins-loss-draws). I am definitely excited and gunning for my first win."

Mark has been training at George Castro's MMA Lab in Peoria, Arizona since the start of the year. He shares about his preparations, "There is a huge advantage coming in early to the United States where I get to train in one place as opposed to moving around in Manila because of the pandemic protocols," he explains.

He also notes, "It’s all camp training and working out then rest. It allows me to really focus and prepare. Some fighters have the benefit of several months of training, but we take what is given to us and make the most out of the opportunity."

Striegl also notes, "Plus, I get to train under a former MMA fighter in George himself."

Helping him prepare for the fight is four-time All-American Bryce Meredith, who recently made his Legacy Fighting Alliance debut with a TKO win over Steven Merrill.

On how the Wyoming alum can help his preparations, Mark expounds, "When you work with high level training partners, it really increases your learning and confidence."

The run-up to the February 20 fight also includes a three-part mini-documentary being produced by TAP Digital Media Ventures, who also has the broadcast rights for the UFC in the Philippines. The documentary, called "Mark Streigl: The Road Back to the UFC," is slated for broadcast on February 2, 9, and 16, and it recounts his journey from Japan into the different fight outfits he was involved in until now with the UFC.

TAP DMV marketing manager Rely San Agustin says, "TAP DMV is excited to be working with Mark Striegl and to bring not only his fights, but also the UFC to the Filipino audience which is considered as one of the most rabid MMA fan bases in the world."

UFC Fight Night 202 is set to be broadcast on Premier Sports via cable television, as well as their streaming app Tap Go.

China takes Group A lead, hosts India held in Women's Asian Cup

China on the board

China kickstarted the Women's Asian Cup with an impressive 4-0 victory over Chinese-Taipei at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday.

The Steel Roses did not take long to ensure all three points are headed their way. Pan Yen-Hsin fouled Zhang Linyan inside the area a couple of minutes into the match. Wang Shuang easily converts the spot kick to open the scoring three minutes in.

Wang Shanshan then doubled the lead in the six minutes later, heading in a cross from Gao Chen with the assistance of the crossbar.

Chinese-Taipei managed to stem the momentum until the halftime whistle, but Zhang Xin made it 3-0 in the 54th minute.

Shuang then netted a brace in the 68th minute to cap off scoring for the day.

China would have additional opportunities to totally break the game open but the crossbar prevented a goal from substitute Li Ying in the 76th minute, whilst fellow sub Tang Jiali's chance was saved by Cheng Ssu-Yu.

Meanwhile at the D.Y. Patil Stadium, Women's Asian Cup debutants Iran held India to a goalless draw in the other Group A matchup.

The hosts had plenty of chances to break through but determined defending from the debutants ensured that both sides share a point.

Zohreh Koudaei had a busy evening, starting off with a clearance of Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi's scoring opportunity in the second minute. She also held firm and denied Indumathi Kathiresan's chance inside the box in the second half, then topped that with a brilliant one-hand save of a Dangmei Grace header in the 77th minute.

Iran did have their own chances to break through, but a Samaneh Chahkandi set piece was sent inside the area for Negin Zandi, whose header beat Aditi Chauhan but was denied by the crossbar in the twelfth minute.

Group A's second set of matches will take place on Sunday, with China facing Iran and India going up against Chinese-Taipei.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Continental pathways set for United City, Kaya FC

AFC Champions League East Zone

The paths of the two Filipino sides in the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup are set, with the confirmation of the draw results for both competition on Monday.

United City FC is already assured of a Group Stage berth, having been slotted into Group G with respective league champions BG Pathum United of Thailand and Melbourne City of Australia. Completing the quartet is Korean FA Cup winners Jeongnam Dragons.

Upon learning the results, Eric Gottschalk shares, "We have a very balanced but competitive group & avoiding a team from China & Japan is definitely not a bad draw. I’m personally looking forward to the match-up with Thailand as this is the competitive level what we are always measuring ourselves against."


As for Kaya FC, they will have to earn their way into the Group Stage, as they will face a yet-to-be-determined Australian side on March 8. A victory will earn them a shot a week later against Chinese side Changchun Yatai, provided the CSL team secures its clearance from the AFC. Win that one, and they secure a spot in Group H alongside two-time champions Jeonbuk Hyundai, J-League side Yokohama F. Marinos, and Vientamese champions Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC.

A loss in either match eliminates them from AFC Champions League action, but the team is already assured of a berth in the Group Stage portion of the AFC Cup.

The ASEAN Zone pathway for Kaya puts them in Group G, alongside Bali United of Indonesia and Kedah Darul Aman FC of Malaysia. Completing the group will be either Visakha FC of Cambodia and Young Elephants FC of Laos, who will face off in April to determine that spot.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Australian Open set for beIN Sports debut in the Philippines

Australian Open

The first Grand Slam for 2022 is set to kick off, and with a new broadcaster in tow.

Filipino fans can check out the Australian Open on a new sports channel called beIN Sports 2, with 140 hours of coverage, starting tomorrow, January 17 at 8am, until January 30. Aside from the live action, the channel showcase documentaries, highlights, and classics, among others.

With both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer not participating, Rafael Nadal has the chance to break their three-way tie at twenty Grand Slam men's singles titles. Serving as the major hurdle are last year's runner-up and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, as well as Tokyo 2020 gold medalist and ATP Tour Finals champion Alex Zverev.

On the women's side, defending champion Naomi Osaka seeks to bounce back after a roller coaster of a year in 2021, with top-seed. hometown favorite, and Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Wimbledon champion Barbora Krejčíková, new darling and US Open champion Emma Raducanu, and Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Belinda Bencic leading the challengers.

beIN Sports has also secured the rights to the second Grand Slam of the year with the French Open in May, as well as the ATP Tour. The group is best known for their football content, with the rights to the following competitions: Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, Major League Soccer, and the FA Cup.

beIN Sports is among the channels available on SKYcable's HD plans, which run for as low as PhP 500.

For more details as well as the latest updates on SKY can check out their social media profiles: Facebook (, Twitter, and Instagram (@myskyupdates). One can also check out

Thursday, January 13, 2022

ONE: HEAVY HITTERS devoid of Pinoy fighters

Jeremy Miado

Much to the chagrin of Filipino mixed martial arts fans, COVID-19 health and safety protocols have taken out the two Filipinos set to take part in the upcoming mixed martial arts event of ONE Championship.

Strawweight fighters Jeremy Miado and Robin Catalan have been ruled out from their respective matchups at the ONE: HEAVY HITTERS slated to take place on Friday, January 14, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Miado was scheduled to face Senzo Ikeda, while Catalan had been slated to go up against Elipitua Siregar.

Jeremy was seeking his third straight victory and eleventh overall, fresh from a second round technical knockout victory over Miao Li Tao last October at ONE: NEXTGEN. The result is the benefits of his training with Marrok Force MMA in Bangkok, and ensured his entry into ONE's strawweight rankings.

He shared his thoughts about the decision. "I believe this happened for a reason. Yes, it's unfortunate that as an athlete, all of our efforts in training camp went to waste. But I believe God has His own plans."

Robin Catalan

Robin would have been coming off a year-long layoff after forcing to tap out against Ryuto Sawada at ONE: UNBREAKABLE III. He had been hoping to bounce back with a victory not only for himself but also for the Catalan Fighting System.

Catalan shares, "This is a sad news because I was really ready for this match and I was excited to head back to the ONE Circle and get the win. Unfortunately, we have to take this news and go back home, but we promise that once everything is ok, I'll go back to train to be able to fight again."

As a result of these events, Ikeda will face off against Siregar in a strawweight matchup in the main card.

The protocols have also forced the cancellation of the co-main event; the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World title fight between Roman Kryklia and Murat Aygun.

In spite of these, ONE: HEAVY Hitters still packs a punch, with the main event being Xiong Jing Nan defending her ONE Women's Strawweight title against Ayaka Miura.

Other main matches include a Muay Thai duel between Saemapetch and Tawanchai, as well as James Nakashima taking on Saygid Izagakhmaev in a lightweight scrap.

PGA Tour now on Premier Sports 2/TAP Go


TAP DMV has snapped up another sports property, as it officially announced its partnership with Discovery and the PGA Tour for 2022.

Discovery and the PGA Tour recently entered into a strategic alliance that allows the former to help in the optimization of the latter's international rights and distribution.

The deal officially commenced starting last week. with Cameron Smith claiming the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation in Hawaii.

PGA Tour Senior Vice President for International Media Thierry Pascal shares, "The PGA TOUR and Discovery continue to look for opportunities to further grow the TOUR’s international audience around the world.  Partnerships with the best and most innovative broadcast partners are key in this regard, so we are particularly looking forward to live PGA TOUR action coming to the Philippines with Premier Sports 2 and TapGo."

He adds, "We look forward to providing more live coverage than ever before for all the passionate golf fans across the Philippines."

From TAP DMV's end, Chief Technology Officer Gonzalo “Bogie” De Guia says, "We are very excited to bring the Filipino golf fan regular live action of the best players and so many of the greatest tournaments in the world that the PGA TOUR offer. Our 2022 lineup for Premier Sports 2 and TapGo will feature the very best coverage from the PGA TOUR starting this weekend.  We can’t wait to get started."

The PGA Tour tweaked its schedule for 2022, which includes among other things:

  • A Saturday finish at the Farmers Insurance Open
  • The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Waste Management Phoenix Open swapping spots, allowing the latter to remain as the tournament that takes place before the Super Bowl.
  • The Genesis Scottish Open will be co-sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour for the first time, allowing its participants to earn points in both the FedExCup and the Race to Dubai.
  • Two World Golf Championships events in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play this March and the WGC-HSBC Champions this October.
  • The FedEx St. Jude Championship becoming the first of three FedExCup Playoff events in the summer. After those three events, the remainder of the FedExCup Playoffs commence in August.
  • The Mexico Open is officially a regular full-field event on the PGA Tour schedule.
  • Delaware is hosting its first PGA Tour event, with the South Course of the Wilmington Country Club being the venue of the BMW Championship.
  • Quail Hollow Club is set to host the upcoming President's Cup, and as a result, the Wells Fargo Championship will take at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Maryland.

TAP DMV has crafted a new linear television channel to host these events, called Premier Sports 2, with over a hundred local cable providers, including industry leaders Cignal TV and SkyCable.

It is also available on TAP's OTT platform, TAP Go. Subscribers will be able to watch the events with the Premium Plus package, which is PhP 599/monthly.