It was another Matchday of goals, impressive defensive performances and unfortunate news in that hosts India had to withdraw from the competition, due to positive cases of COVID-19. The action gets back underway on Wednesday 26th January, so before that, let's review Match 2
Match 2 Results
Iran 0 - 7 China
After winning their opening game against Taiwan 4-0, China came out into this match with a statement of intent. Perhaps a warning to Australia given their emphatic performance on Friday. Iran almost opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Fatemeh Adeli took a quick freekick from just outside the centre circle, which managed to catch the Chinese defense and keeper, Zhao Lina, off guard. What seemed to be a simple freekick that wouldn't trouble Lina, quickly turned dangerous when it took a slight deflection off Zhang Xin. Lina had no choice but to push the ball out for a corner. But despite the slight scare, China made it 1-0 in the 28th minute when Wang Shuang received the ball in the middle from Lou Jiahui. Shuang ran towards goal, unchallenged by the Iranian defenders, before striking it outside the box and into the bottom right corner. Just before half-time, the Steel Roses doubled their lead, with Zhang Xin cutting inside from left wing and laid off a fantastic through ball for Xiao Yuyi to hit first time, through the legs of the Iranian goalkeeper. China came out in the second half, with a renewed ferocity. In the 49th minute, Li Mengwen was brought down in the box and naturally it was Wang Shuang who stepped up to fire it into the bottom right corner for her second for the night. Minutes later, China made it 4-0 when Xiao Yuyi played the ball towards Wang Shanshan who chested the ball down, controlled it and brilliantly placed it into the net. It was soon 5-0 just moments later, when again Wang Shanshan hit a crossed ball first time to place it into the bottom left. Despite her heroics in the last game and during this game, Zohreh Koudaei, the Iranian goalkeeper, would want to forget goal number six. Spurs player Jiali Tang ran towards goal, before rifling off a shot from outside the box which skipped underneath the diving Koudaei. The Steel Roses finsihed the game off in the 82nd minute, when Jiali Tang got her brace through a delightful chip over the onrushing goalkeeper. Finishing off China's 7 goal thriller in style.
India P - P Taiwan
About 30 minutes before the start of the game, rumblings could be seen and heard online about how the game would be unable to be played. The reason for this was due to Indian National Team players testing positive for COVID-19 and being unable to field the required 13 players needed for the game to go ahead. The announcement was made formally by the AFC, which highlighted that India would forfeit the game. On Monday morning it was announced that India have sadly withdrawn from the competition. All matches of India's are now cancelled and considered null and void. The AFC had this to say in their official statement:
"For the avoidance of doubt, all points and goals in those matches shall not be taken into consideration when determining the final rankings in the group in conformity with Article 7.3 of the Competition Regulations.
To avoid any possible disparity in the final competition between all third-placed teams, the results of the matches in Group B and C between the third-placed teams against the fourth-placed teams will not be counted when calculating the two best third placed teams among all groups"
Myanmar 0 - 2 South Korea
It was a dominant display by Korea from start to finish in this match, with the Taegeuk almost opening the scoring in the 1st minute when Cho So-hyun headed the ball just wide. Cho So-hyun had another chance to give her side the lead in the 25th minute when she was found unchallenged in the box on a freekick, put her header once again missed the goal and hit the side netting. Despite being in firm control of the game, both sides went into half-time with the score at 0-0. Coming out into the second 45, Korea once again pushed and pressured the Myanmar back line. Cho So-hyun had been a nuisance for The Asian Lionesses all game and she finally got the rewards for her persistence and willingness to get forward when she headed down a ball from a cross perfectly for her teammate Lee Geum-min, to finish. Ye-eun Park almost made it 2-0 for Korea in the 53rd minute when her cross turned shot, almost caught Myanmar goalkeeper, May Zin Nwe, off guard when the ball looped over her head from distance, but thankfully was saved by the crossbar. The Taegeuk finished them game off in the 83rd minute when captain Ji So-yun headed a cross down towards goal, taking a slight deflection off Myanmar defender Khin Mo Mo Tun, who was credited with the own goal.
Philippines 0 - 4 Australia
Despite the final result, it really doesn't reflect just how hard Australia were made to work for it. The Philippines were utterly phenomenal at the back, with goalkeeper Kiara Fontanilla being a composed figure on her national debut. The Philippines almost gave Australia a slight scare in the opening 5 minutes of the game, when Chandler McDaniel was given a great through ball into the box by Sarina Bolden, however McDaniel fired her shot across goal. For the remainder of the first half it was all Australia, but the Malditas did well to keep them at bay and pressurize shots into missed chances. However, despite their incredible heroics, the constant press from Australia proved too much, when in the 51st minute that woman Sam Kerr made it 1-0 with a brilliant header into the bottom left corner. An own goal just minutes later from Dominique Randle, crushed Philippines hearts further. It was in 67th minute when Australia made it 3-0. Despite a great save initially from Fontanilla, the ball fell back into play and onto the head of Emily van Egmond, who made no mistake to place it home from a few yards out. In the 76th minute, Fontanilla again was at the heart of Philippine heroics, when she made a fantastic reflex save to stop Alanna Kennedy increasing the deficit, when she headed the ball from just a few yards out. But unfortunately, it was too much and despite the fight from the Malditas, Australia finished the game off in the 87th minute when Mary Fowler found the ball outside of the box and slammed it into the bottom left corner to end the game 4-0 to the Matildas.
Indonesia 0 - 4 Thailand
After their 1-0 loss to the Philippines at the weekend, Thailand had to make sure they came away with a result if they want to secure a place into the quarter-finals. Whilst Indonesia, were looking to put their 18-0 loss to tournament favourites Australia behind them. Unforutnaltye it didnt quite work out that way for the Garuda Pertiwi, with Thailand dominating the statistics and the play on the pitch. Thailand almost made it 1-0 in the 19th minute when Irravadee Makris recieved a through ball and was clear on goal, only to see her shot tipped onto the crossbar by 17 year old Fani Supriyanto. However, Thailand didn't let that missed opporunity play on their minds. In the 27th minute Thailand took a short corner which Jaruwan Chaiyarak crossed in superdbly to find Kanyanat Chetthabutr's head to make it 1-0. Kanyanat Chetthabutr got her second for the night, when Thailand played some beautiful one touch passing football, which cut open the Indonesia defence. Taneekarn Dangda ran onto the through ball and could have took the shot on herself, but she selflessly laid it off for Chetthabutr to finish. In the 56th minute Chetthabutr almost got her hattrick when she was through on goal and one on one with the keeper, however again Fani Supriyanto came up big and won the duel. It wasn't until the 71st minute that Thailand made it 3-0 and Chetthabutr got her hat-trick when she recieved the ball on the edge of the box and wrapped her foot around the ball to lift it wonderfully into the net. The game was finished off by Thailand just moments later, when what appeared to be a cross from Irravadee Makris ended up turning in the air and beating Supriyanto who was backpeddling.
Vietnam 0 - 3 Japan
It would be an understatement to say that Japan dominated this game, despite the score perhaps not illustrating that. Japan had 22 shots, 74% possession, 635 passes and a passing accuracy of 81%. Japan's Yui Narumiya, had an impressive game and almost got the Nadeshiko off to a quick start in the 4th minute, when she received the ball in the box and struck the ball towards the near post on her weaker foot. Japan had chance after chance, with shots going just inches wide of the post or Vietnam's goalkeeper Kim Thanh Trần Thị, making some fine saves to keep her side in it. Japan received the benefits of their constant pressure in the 38th minute, when the aforementioned Kim Thanh Trần Thị (who had played so well until this point) fumbled a save and Japan's Yui Narumiya was quick enough to respond, tucking it away calmly. Just after half time, Japan made it 2-0. In the 50th minute Japan won a freekick out on the left wing, which was sent towards the front post and went in off the thigh of captain Saki Kumagai. The Nadeshiko then finished the game off in the 57th minute when Yui Narumiya got her brace. In a similar fashion to the second goal, Japan won a freekick out on the left wing which was lofted in deep this time for Narumiya to hit on the half volley. Japan continued to pressure Vietnam for the remainder of the game, but Kim Thanh Trần Thị helped reduce the damage.
Match 3 Fixtures
Taiwan v Iran | Wednesday 26th January 2022 at 2pm
Vietnam v Myanmar | Thursday 27th January 2022 at 10am
Japan v South Korea | Thursday 27th January 2022 at 10am
Australia v Thailand | Thursday 27th January 2022 at 2pm
Philippines v Indonesia | Thursday 27th January 2022 at 2pm
How to watch
Despite it looking like FreeSports were going to show all games of the competition live and for free on their channel, website and app. With fixtures being shown sporadically. Unfortunately, unless you have a VPN or can find a stream online, there are no other ways to watch the games. However, highlights of the games are quickly uploaded to the AFC's YouTube channel
For those of you outside of the UK. The AFC website has documented which broadcasters are showing the games here: https://www.the-afc.com/en/national/afc_womens_asian_cup/where_to_watch.html