Qualifiers R2 - Group C: Chinese Taipei on course, IR Iran keep hopes alive
Doha: Chinese Taipei produced a miraculous recovery from 2-0 down to beat Philippines 4-2, while Islamic Republic of Iran brought their campaign back to life with a 9-0 win over Palestine in Group C of Round Two of the AFC Women's Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers on Saturday.
PHILIPPINES 2-4 CHINESE TAIPEI
Chinese Taipei dramatically overturned a two-goal deficit to put themselves to within touching distance of the third round, and inflict what may be a crushing blow on the Philippines' Olympic hopes, winning a 4-2 epic at Grand Hamad Stadium.
The Philippines appeared to be marching to their most significant win in a year at 2-0 up, but the outstanding Michelle Pao scored a penalty to give Chinese Taipei hope, before Kazuo Echigo's charges took full control after half-time to claim a priceless win.
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A draw or better against Iran on Tuesday will now be enough for Chinese Taipei tor reach the third round, while the Philippines - who remain in contention - no longer hold the key to their own destiny.
The Southeast Asians had suffered a 5-0 defeat to Chinese Taipei as recently as last November, but here they were in early command, with tournament revelation Joyce Semacio scoring a sensational long-range lob in the 13th minute.
Exactly one year on from their momentous AFC Women's Asian Cup win over Jordan, the Philippines looked to be on track for a similarly meaningful result when Patricia Tomanan scored another superb goal in the 32nd minute, but Pao was introduced a minute later, and her penalty on the stroke half-time gave Chinese Taipei a foot-hold at the break.
Just three minutes into the second-half, the Philippines' lead had disappeared, as Tomanon watched on in horror as her attempted clearance flew beyond goalkeeper Inna Palacios and into the bottom corner of her own net.
Pao continued to wreak havoc, playing key role in the Alesa Dolino own goal that gave Chinese Taipei an unlikely lead in the 63rd minute, before another substitute, Ting Chi, landed the knockout blow their fourth goal with three minutes remaining.
With a major obstacle successfully dodged, Chinese Taipei celebrated a win that takes them to a perfect six points from two matches, while a crestfallen Philippines were left to reflect on what might have been.
PALESTINE 0-9 IR IRAN
Earlier, Iran kept their qualification hopes alive in swashbuckling style, turning in a dominant performance to beat Palestine 9-0 at Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Stadium.
Palestine's heavy defeat means their Olympic dream has been quashed, while Iran now stand a genuine chance of qualifying for the third round if they can beat Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.
Iran dominated from the outset, taking the lead through Samaneh Chakandi in the fourth minute, before Hajar Dabbaghi added goals in the 20th and 22nd minutes to have them three goals clear with three quarters of the match still to play.
Mona Hamoudi scored either side of half-time to stretch the deficit to five, and Sara Ghomi found the back of the net within a minute of coming off the bench to bring up the half-dozen in the 56th minute.
As Palestine struggled, Iran captain Zara Ghanbari added another one in the 67th minute, before she and Ghomi became the third and fourth players to score twice on the day, when they added the final two goals in the 82nd and 83rd minutes.
Iran remain three points adrift of group leaders Chinese Taipei, but their whopping goal difference of +7 means they have every chance of advancing should they muster a repeat performance on Tuesday.
Photos: Qatar Football Association