AUSTRALIA advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s Asian Cup on Monday after a decisive second-half showing saw Tony Gustavsson’s side defeat Philippines 4-0 in Mumbai.
After a goalless first half, Sam Kerr opened the scoring with a 51st-minute header before Dominique Randle’s own goal two minutes later put the Matildas in control of the Group B encounter.
Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler were also on target as the Australians defeated a Philippines side directed by former Matildas coach Alen Stajčić.
The win, coupled with their 18-0 thrashing of Indonesia on the opening day, means the Australians are guaranteed a place in the last eight ahead of their final group game against Thailand on Thursday.
“The first half, they made it difficult for us to break them down, and in the second half we came out and capitalized quite early, which gave us good momentum for the last 45 minutes,” said Van Egmond.
“But credit to the Philippines, they came out and they were disciplined and made it tough for us. But we’re proud of our group of girls, to follow the game plan and get it done.”
South Korea moved a step closer to booking their place in the next round despite laboring to a 2-0 win over Myanmar.
Coach Colin Bell was forced to introduce Chelsea midfielder Ji So-yun from the bench 11 minutes from the end of the first half to invigorate his side as they struggled to break down their defensively disciplined opponents.
The Koreans finally opened their account five minutes into the second half when Cho So-hyun’s cushioned header across the six-yard box was controlled by Lee Geum-min before she scored.
Ji was instrumental in the second strike six minutes from time when her header back across goal brushed against defender Tun Khin Mo Mo before crossing the line via the inside of the post.
South Korea will confirm their place in the next round if Japan defeats Vietnam in the late game in Group C in Pune.
The top two finishers in each of the three groups will advance to the knockout rounds along with the two third-place finishers with the best records.
The competition is doubling up as Asia’s qualifier for next year’s Women’s World Cup, with the continent awarded five guaranteed spots at the finals in Australia and New Zealand.
Australia qualifies for the World Cup as co-host while two other Asian nations will feature in an intercontinental playoff round. — Reuters