Malditas upend Iran in Olympic AFC qualifier

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines got off to a flying start in Round 2 of the AFC Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers as the Malditas drubbed Iran, 2-0, Wednesday night at Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar (early yesterday in Manila).

Joyce Semacio and Alisha del Campo both struck within a five-minute span early in the second half to power the Malditas to maximum points  in the Group C qualifiers.

The Pinay booters are on level on points with fellow opening-night victor Chinese-Taipei, which enjoys the edge in goal difference on the strength of its 3-0 blanking of Palestine in the other game.

Phl XI and Iran played to a scoreless standoff after the first 45 but the charges of coach Let Dimzon got their groove after the restart.

The Malditas had the breakthrough in the 47th minute as Semacio, taking advantage of a failed clearance by the Iranian defenders, fired a magnificent volley on the turn from inside the box to get them on the board. 

Del Campo joined the fray five minutes later as she blasted a fine finish off a pass from Sara Castaneda to double the Phl lead.

The Filipinas seek to sustain the momentum as they next face the Taiwanese in a top-of-the-table encounter Saturday night (early Sunday in Manila).

The Taiwanese have been in their top form since Round 1 of the Continental Qualifiers, where the Malditas were among their victims. Counting its opening day victory versus Palestine, Chinese Taipei hasn’t conceded a goal in five matches now.        

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