Doha: Chinese Taipei cruised past Islamic Republic of Iran to seal their ticket to Round 3 of the AFC Women's Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers, while the Philippines ended their campaign on a high with seven goals against Palestine.
CHINESE TAIPEI 4-1 IR IRAN
A powerful first-half display ensured any pre-match nerves for Chinese Taipei quickly disappeared, as Kauzo Echigo's side reached the last eight with an emphatic victory at Grand Hamad Stadium.
Three teams were still in contention going into Matchday Three, but a draw or better was all Chinese Taipei needed, and they made life easy for themselves with a fast start, which removed any danger of final day disappointment.
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Iran knew a win would give them a more than even chance of reaching the last eight, but, not for the first time in Doha, Chinese Taipei's Michelle Pao played a starring role to help her side to victory.
Pao had come off the bench to jumpstart Chinese Taipei in their stunning come-from-behind win over the Philippines on Saturday, but this time she was in the starting 11, and wasted little time in giving her side a 12th-minute lead.
Chen Yen-ping added a second just three minutes later, and the likelihood of an Iranian recovery looked paper-thin when Tseng Shu-o converted a penalty to make it 3-0 in the 36th minute.
Chinese Taipei's fourth - which was Pao's second for the match, third for the week and ninth in Tokyo 2020 qualifying - extended the lead in the 47th minute, before Iran captain Zahra Ghanbari pulled one back to provide them with the slightest glimmer of hope 15 minutes later.
But while Chinese Taipei had shown on Saturday that four-goal turnarounds are possible, no such heroics were forthcoming from Iran, who were left to settle for third place.
For Chinese Taipei, attention now turns to the third round, where they will rub shoulders with some of the best sides in Asia, and the world, in pursuit of a first ever ticket to the Olympic Games.
PHILIPPINES 7-0 PALESTINE
The Philippines underlined their superiority over last-placed Palestine with a 7-0 win that lifted them into second, but it wasn't enough to complete the final day miracle they required to reach Round 3.
The Malditas needed to win, score as many goals as possible, and hope Islamic Republic of Iran could do them a favour by defeating Chinese Taipei, but while they weren't far off living up to their end of the bargain, events at Grand Hamad Stadium meant their goal rush would play no role in deciding the group winners.
A 17th-minute penalty - nonchalantly side-footed home by the in-form Joyce Semacio - gave the Southeast Asians the lead, before Alisha Del Campo doubled the tally 12 minutes later with a high shot from close range.
Eva Madarang added a third in the 31st minute to make it 3-0 at half-time, before capping a fine individual tournament with her second of the match at the hour-mark despite the best efforts of Palestine's Safa Othman, who got a solid hand to the ball.
Philippines veteran Patrice Impelido nodded home a free header from a corner kick in the 62nd minute, and when Sara Castañeda scored from opening play in the 66th minute, then from the penalty spot four minutes later, Palestine had shipped four goals in just 10 minutes.
Despite their surge of goals, the Philippines were left agonisingly short of a place in the last eight, with their collapse against Chinese Taipei on Matchday Two, where they squandered a 2-0 lead just before half-time to lose 4-2, ultimately proving to be an insurmountable blow.
Photos: Qatar Football Association
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