Qualifiers R2 - Group C: Flying starts for Philippines, Chinese Taipei
Doha: East Asian sides came out on top on the opening day of Group C action in Round 2 of the AFC Women's Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers, with Chinese Taipei and the Philippines registering wins over Palestine and Islamic Republic of Iran respectively on Wednesday.
PHILIPPINES 2-0 IR IRAN
Two excellent goals in five second-half minutes proved decisive for the Philippines, who kick-started their week in Qatar with an impressive 2-0 win over Islamic Republic of Iran at Grand Hamad Stadium.
A stunning opener from Joyce Semacio was quickly followed by Alisha Del Campo's precise second, as Let Dimzon's side passed their opening test, and set up a top of the table clash with Chinese Taipei on Saturday.
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In a fast-paced opening 45 minutes, both sides took regular turns at trying to get in behind the opposing defence, but while the match was high on energy, clear cut chances were rare, and it remained scoreless at the interval.
The game burst into life in the second minute of the second period, as Philippines striker Semacio produced a magnificent volley on the turn to fire the Southeast Asians into the lead.
Before Iran could recover, that lead was extended as Del Campo breached the Iranian defence before picking out the bottom corner to beat goalkeeper Zahra Kahjavi and make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
Maryam Azmoun's side refused to give up, launching a wave of attacks and pushing several extra bodies forward, but their efforts went without reward as the Philippines celebrated what may prove to be a priceless three points.
CHINESE TAIPEI 3-0 PALESTINE
Earlier, Chinese Taipei extended their prolific run following their 3-0 defeat of Palestine at Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium.
Chinese Taipei, who scored a staggering 33 goals in the first round, have yet to concede a goal after five matches in qualifying.
Both teams were equal at the start of the match but neither could find their footing in front of goal.
Chinese Taipei, however, found a way through in the 43rd minute with Zhuo Li-ping giving them an advantage to take into the break.
The second half was dominated by Chinese Taipei as they strengthened their grip through captain Wang Hsiang-huei’s strike in the 56th minute.
Any hope of Palestine coming back into the game was diminished after substitute Ting Chi found the back of the net in the 68th minute.
Chinese Taipei will meet the Philippines in what looms as a crucial Matchday Two clash on Saturday, while Iran will look to keep their now slender hopes alive against Palestine.
Photos: Qatar Football Association