AFC Women's Asian Cup: Chinese Taipei sails past Iran to seal quarterfinal berth

Lai Li-Chin starred with a hat-trick with Chen Yen-Ping and Wang Hsiang-Huei scoring one each as Chinese Taipei sealed second place in Group A behind China PR to advance to the knockout stage.

Chinese Taipei's Y. Chen celebrates scoring against Iran.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Chinese Taipei booked its place in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup quarterfinals after defeating Iran 5-0 in their final Group A tie at the D.Y. Patil Stadium on Wednesday.

Lai Li-Chin starred with a hat-trick with Chen Yen-Ping and Wang Hsiang-Huei scoring one each as Chinese Taipei sealed second place in Group A behind China PR to advance to the knockout stage.

Both teams, having suffered defeats against China, went into the tie fully aware that their respective fates were in their own hands, with Chinese Taipei only needing a draw to pip Iran to a quarterfinal berth.

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Iran, appearing in its inaugural Asian Cup, had the first look on goal in the third minute when Melika Motevalli almost caught Chinese Taipei napping but her powerful header was parried to safety by goalkeeper Cheng Ssu-Yu.

Chinese Taipei, however, responded immediately with Lee Hsiu-Chin doing well to muscle her way into the box to draw out the defenders, allowing Lai time to send her well placed shot to the bottom left corner.

Iran came close to finding the equaliser in the 21st minute but Afsaneh Chatrenoor’s shot from inside the box was saved by goalkeeper Cheng, while Fatemeh Amineh saw her glancing header cleared.

Chinese Taipei doubled its lead in the 31st minute when captain Lai’s intended cross sailed over Iran goalkeeper Zohreh Khodaei and into the back of the net.

With the momentum firmly in the East Asian team’s favour, Kazuo Echigo’s side added their third five minutes from the break through Chen Yen-Ping’s close range effort.

Chinese Taipei came close to finding the net again in the 55th minute when Lai sent a clever ball into the six-yard-box but substitute Chi Ting sent her shot straight into the arms of Khodaei.

Iran was under pressure again moments later, with Chi Ting finding herself in a scoring position down the left flank but her shot from the edge of the box grazed the crossbar.

There was, however, to be more agony for Iran as they conceded a penalty in the 63rd minute following Motevalli’s foul on Su Yu-Hsuan, with Lai sending Khodaei the wrong way to seal her hat-trick.

Chinese Taipei made it 5-0 in the 78th minute through substitute Wang Hsiang-Huei, who picked up Su Yu-Hsuan’s through ball before slotting home to seal the emphatic win.

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