The Philippine Women’s National Football Team kept its Parisian dreams alive with a 1-0 win over Iran in the second round of the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Perth, Australia.
The Filipinas secured second place in Group A with six points and a goal difference of minus-4. While the Philippines currently tops the ranking of group runners-up, it will be reliant on the results of other groups to advance to the next phase.
The 2022 AFF Women’s Championship winners need Group B teams South Korea and China to draw with each other. Group C teams Vietnam and Uzbekistan to lose against Japan and India, respectively. An Uzbekistan draw against India will suffice as well.
Tahnai Annis scored the game’s lone goal in the 19th minute with a cool finish from close range. The skipper’s goal gave the Filipinas a dream start to their must-win game, and they were forced to work hard for all three points against a desperate Iranian team.
Iran pounded the Philippines’ goal to revive its Olympic dreams. Goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel performed routine stops against Negin Sandi and Zahra Ghanbari to protect the Filipinas’ lead before the halftime break.
Come the second half, Ghanbari had an attempt that hit the crossbar and forced another crucial save from McDaniel. Amidst the danger of an Iranian leveler, the Philippines sought a safety goal. None arrived, but it was not because of a lack of effort in the attacking third.
Iran goalkeeper Zahra Khajavi denied Filipinas’ top scorer Sarina Bolden’s volley attempt from close range as well as Katrina Guillou one-on-one to keep her team in the contest.
Ultimately, the Filipinas held on to accomplish their part of the bargain. They shall now wait and see if other pieces fall into place.
“We knew that they were gonna be a difficult team to break down,” said coach Mark Torcaso. “Before today, I think, they only conceded two goals so we knew it was gonna be an extremely hard game to literally get in behind but score but in the end, I think we did enough to get the result.”
On the other hand, the Lionesses of Iran finished their campaign tied with Chinese Taipei for the third to fourth spots in Group A. Chinese Taipei and the host nation Australia will face each other later tonight.
The Matildas are assured of qualifying for the next round as the top team of the group because of their superior tally of six points and a plus-10 goal difference.
Philippines XI: O McDaniel (GK), Cowart, Sawicki, Long, Annis ©, Bolden, Eggesvik, Beard, Harrison, Barker, Guillou.
Iran XI: Khajavi (GK), Amineh, Shaban, Sarbali, Chatrenoor, Behesht, Ghanbari ©, Taherkhani, Zandi, Mohammadi, Khosravi.