Malditas punch historic FIFA WWC ticket after beating Chinese Taipei in penalties

The Malditas flock Sarina Bolden after she scored the winning penalty that sent them to the FIFA Women's World Cup. AFC
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--On Thursday night, Sarina Bolden missed a penalty that would have set up the Philippine women's football team's dominance over Indonesia much earlier.

But with a place in the FIFA Women's World Cup on the line, Bolden delivered the spot-kick that mattered.

Bolden set up the Malditas' date with history early Monday (Philippine Time) as her penalty was the difference in their shootout win over Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals of the AFC Women's Asian Cup at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India.

The Malditas prevailed in the shootout, 4-3, after a 1-1 stalemate after extra time that did not just send them to the semifinals against South Korea, 1-0 winner over Australia in another quarterfinal on Sunday, on Thursday but also earned them a place in the FIFA WWC, becoming only the first Philippine team to make it to any FIFA World Cup tournament.

But it was Olivia McDaniel who set up Bolden's magic down the stretch even as the Taiwanese girls suddenly lost steam despite being a goal away from clinching their own place in the FIFA WWC.

With her team up, 3-2, in the shootout, Cheng Ssu-yu gave Chinese Taipei the major advantage after saving Jess Miclat's attempt that would have kept the penalty contest tied.

But Hsu Yi-Yun kept the Malditas in the game after she sent her penalty attempt to the left goal post despite sending McDaniel to the wrong side of the goal.

Cheng stepped up anew for Chinese Taipei as she punched Hali Long's own shot, although she had to breathe a sigh of relief as the ball still bounced high before eventually sailing out of the goal line.

After saving Su Sin-Yun's attempt, McDaniel stepped into the penalty dot and sent a power shot to the left side that Cheng could not keep out, forcing the sudden death round.

McDaniel then showed that she can still save the football after kicking it in as she stopped Zhuo Li-Ping's attempt, setting up Bolden's heroics.

Bolden, like her attempt against Indonesia, decided to slot the ball into the left side, and Cheng found the shot too fast to save as the former knocked the ball in to win it for the Malditas.

Her penalty miss turned out to be a heartbreaker for Zhuo as she sent the match into extra time with an 82nd-minute goal from outside the right elbow, the first strike McDaniel conceded in regulation play after getting a clean sheet in her two prior starts.

The Malditas came just close to clinching the quarterfinal win after Quinley Quezada, finally making an appearance in the WAC after sitting out the group stages, flicked a 49th-minute goal in from close range off a set-piece.

But with McDaniel and Bolden's heroics in the shootout, the Malditas can now cherish "herstory" in the making.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno