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Women´s WFCQ 2017 AOFC - Day 2 – 01.02.2017
Day 2 of the Asia Oceania WFC 2017 qualifications was a mixed bag of matches. Three were decided by single goals and one had a clear winner. With two of the three group rounds now played the picture of the play-off rounds has started to take shape.
Singapore v Japan opened the day´s play. These two are long-time rivals and their matches are traditionally close - the last three times that the teams had played the goal difference had only been one goal each time. In all those previous matches it was Japan that was victorious and despite a fightback from Singapore in the last period, history repeated itself again. Japan won 3-2.
China are playing in their very first international event and being a new IFF Member Association they are in the very early stages of development. Playing Australia, the highest ranked of the AOFC countries, was a daunting challenge and they should be commended for their positive attitude to the game, but they were completely outplayed by the Aussies who piled on their biggest ever win of 26-0. The Australians showed they are here to qualify and leading the scoring was Tara Meyer (6+1) and Alexandra Staib (3+3), both players showing the experience gained playing in Switzerland´s highest league.
Thailand against New Zealand was a thriller, and was played at a hectic pace from start to finish. The Thais had more attacking possession through the game whereas the Kiwis played tight defence and relied on counter attacks. The New Zealand goalkeeper, Maria Hegarty, was the key factor in the game being as close as it was. Thailand had many scoring opportunities but Hegarty was solid throughout and was unlucky to have the third goal from Thailand get past her as it deflected off the player in front of goal. Thailand´s Tikhamporn Sakunpithak scored two goals in their thrilling 3-2 victory in front of another enthusiastic New Zealand home crowd. Hegarty might not have got the win but she was surely pleased to receive the best player award which was presented by All Black rugby player TJ Perenara.
The final match of the day was just as exciting as the one before it and turned out to be the game of the day. After playing very strongly against Singapore yesterday, Korea would´ve been favourites for this match and took a 2-0 lead. But Malaysia were still well in the game and scored two quick goals to close out the second period at 2-2. The final period was very tense. Korea went ahead and Malaysia answered straight back for it to be 3-3 with 10mins left to play. When Korea took the lead again they managed to control the game better and Malaysia had less chances to score, although they came very close in just the final seconds of getting an equaliser. An important 4-3 win for Korea heading towards the play-off rounds.
Many great photos from all of the matches can be found at FLICKR. Our streaming problems were also solved today, so if you missed any of the action, replays of all of the games can be seen on IFF YouTube.
For all the standings and player statistics visit the AOFC Event Page.
Photos: Masanori Udagawa
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