Mumbai, Jan 24 (PTI): Title contenders Australia pumped in four goals in the second half to beat Philippines 4-0 and advance to the quarter-finals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Mumbai on Monday.
The Matildas took 51 minutes to break the deadlock against the side 53 places below them, but ultimately cruised to victory thanks to goals from captain Sam Kerr, Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler as well as an own goal from Philippines player Dominqiue Randle.
With six points after two matches, Australia booked their place in the last eight round, while the Philippines are also well placed to advance despite their defeat, thanks to their earlier win against Thailand.
Three days after their record-breaking 18-0 win over Indonesia in Group B, the 2010 winners returned to Mumbai Football Arena as overwhelming favourites, but they were given a much sterner test by an organised and physically adept Philippines outfit.
In fact, the game’s first big chance fell the way of Alen Stajcic’s side, with Chandler McDaniel — Philippines’ match-winner against Thailand — pulling a low effort wide after being put through on goal by the returning Sarina Bolden.
Australia, having survived that early scare, began to enjoy possession and territory, but found it far from easy to break down their determined opposition.
Kerr missed a free header following Steph Catley’s 30th-minute corner kick. Defender Clare Polkinghorne went close for Australia when her delicate effort on goal tickled the outside of the cross bar six minutes later.
But none of Australia’s 10 shots in the first session forced debutant goalkeeper Kiara Fontanilla into a meaningful save.
The Matildas came out firing after the interval, with Kerr making up for her earlier miss, breaking the deadlock by heading another pinpoint Catley corner kick delivery in the 51st minute.
The Australians were 2-0 up two minutes later, with the otherwise impressive Randle unfortunate to lob the ball into her own net while attempting to keep Kerr at bay.
Tony Gustavsson’s side were now in total control, and they made it 3-0 in the 67th minute, with van Egmond heading home at the second attempt.
In another Group B match, Thailand bounced back from their opening day defeat to secure a 4-0 win over Indonesia at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Kanyanat Chetthabut starred with a hat-trick as Thailand revived their hopes after having suffered a 0-1 defeat to Philippines in their opener.
Thailand, however, face a daunting task as up next are group leaders Australia while Indonesia’s knockout stage hopes have been dashed by Monday’s defeat, having lost 0-18 to the Matildas in their tournament opener.