China routs Malditas to enter semis, qualify for Women's World Cup

It was a rough outing for Kearra Bastes-Jones and the Philippines as the Malditas were brought down to earth by China. Mia Montayre/Philippine Football Federation
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--Eight-time champions China proved too much for the Philippines to handle, as they qualified in the semifinal of the AFC Women's Asian Cup with a clinical 3-0 thrashing Monday afternoon (evening Manila time) in Amman, Jordan.

A masterclass by the former Women's World Cup finalist sees the Steel Roses through to the semifinals with a match to spare and booked their ticket to France in the process, dominating almost all the match stats against the Malditas.

Forward Li Ying scored in both halves to register a brace with a rocket by right-back Ma Jun sandwiched between them.

Despite the huge gap between the two sides, Rabah Benlarbi still stuck to his squad that upset the host nation but with a more emphasis on defence with Tahnai Annis and Marisa Park  being placed at the holding midfield role, while last week's heroine Sarina Bolden was put as the lone centre-forward.

However, that was rendered irrelevant when Li was at her goal-poaching self, poking the rebound after Ren Guixin's initial effort bounced off the post.

Ma doubled the lead straight after the half-hour mark with volley off a weak clearance by Annis that left Kearra Bastes-Jones rooting to her spot, as Sigurður Eyjólfsson's ladies enjoy a 2-0 lead at the half.

Li then completed her brace by tucking in their fina strike in the 57th minute, converting on Gu Yasha's cross from the right wing.

China could have made it four but Bastes-Jones and her backline tightened up this time, and the Steel Roses were even reduced to ten women when skipper Wu Haiyan was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Despite the setback, the Malditas remain second in Group A ahead of Friday's crucial encounter with ASEAN neighbors Thailand, who are playing the host nation as of press time.

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