Taiwan women's football campaign for 2020 Tokyo Olympics ends
Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Taiwan's campaign for a ticket to the women's football competition at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics came to an end after a heavy 5-nil defeat to China Monday in the third round of the AFC Women's Olympic Tournament qualifiers in Australia.
Taiwan ended the competition with three points, which left it third place just one spot above Thailand on zero points in last spot, in Group B.
Currently Australia and China are in the top two places in the group on six points each and advance to the playoffs against the top two teams in Group A.
Despite walking onto the pitch at Campbelltown Stadium in New South Wales with an impressive 8-1 record, carding all wins in round 1 and round 2, with one win and one loss in round three, Taiwan's defense crumbled Monday just minutes after the starting whistle.
Taiwan conceded the first goal just five minutes into the match with a perfectly executed header by Chinese forward Tang Jiali hitting the back of the net following a cross by teammate Luo Guiping from the right hand side byline.
Taiwan's players pulled back into their own half of the pitch to back up the defense, which saw a series of crucial saves by goalkeeper Tsai Ming-jung (蔡明容), but ultimately they could not prevent the Chinese team from scoring again.
Chinese captain Wu Haiyan spearheaded a whirlwind of attacks before scoring from the center of the box 25 minutes into the match, which was followed by another goal in the top right hand corner of the net from the right side of the six yard box by teammate Wang Shanshan just a minute later.
Taiwan had a chance to score when Wang Hsiang-hui (王湘惠) won a free kick close to the Chinese goal after a foul by Chinese forward Li Ying 28 minutes into regular play. However, forward Li Hsiu-chin (李綉琴) failed to control a shot over the wall by teammate Chen Yen-ping (陳燕萍).
The Chinese onslaught continued when Wang scored another goal from the right side of the six yard box, this time assisted by midfielder Ma Jun at 30 minutes, which was followed by a goal from Li Ying from inside the box four minutes later.
After the first half Taiwan found itself five nil down but fought hard throughout the second half to deny the Chinese sharpshooters any more goals.
Taiwan substitute Lin Ya-hui (林雅惠) was inches from scoring with a header with just 12 minutes remaining.
Kazuo Echigo, former Japan national team player and Taiwan's head coach, said the players had gained much invaluable experience since the start of the tournament.
"The spirit of competitive football is very important, whoever shows that they want to win has more of a chance of winning," he said. "Today, the Chinese team played better than us. We must show our desire to win."
Taiwan bows out of the qualifiers following the latest loss, while Australia and China face off to see who finishes in first place Thursday, with both teams progressing to the playoff round.
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