Li Ying’s brace and a superb Ma Jun effort crowned an efficient display by the table-topping East Asians against the Philippines, 3-0, as they followed up their Matchday One defeat of Thailand with a victory which will assure them of qualification for both the next phase of the continental gathering in Jordan and the World Cup.
Having impressed for large parts of their opening day success, China, minus long-term injury victim Xue Jiao and an ill Wang Shanshan, began brightly at the King Abdullah II Stadium, with midfield dynamo Ren Guixin unleashing a shot from distance which Kearra Theryes-Jones did well to tip over her bar.
As the Philippines slowly began to gain a foothold in the match, China broke the deadlock on 17 minutes when Ren turned Gu Yasha’s cross onto the post and Li Ying lashed home the resulting rebound from close-range to register her second goal of the tournament.
China, clearly buoyed by their early breakthrough, doubled their lead shortly after the half hour mark, Ma making the most of hesitant Philippines to beat Theryes-Jones with a fine drive from 12 yards.
In the last meaningful action of an intriguing first half, Hali Long reacted well to block a Ren shot and Zhang Rui forced Theryes-Jones into another fine stop as China threatened to extend their advantage ahead of the break.
China continued to press after the restart, and their pressure was to pay dividends in the 57th minute as, having escaped her marker, Li Ying found the target yet again following another accurate Gu cross.
Song Duan, who scored twice against Thailand, then rattled the Philippines crossbar following a corner, before the onrushing Theryes-Jones bravely denied Ma from five yards with 10 minutes remaining.
China duly survived Wu Haiyan’s dismissal for a second yellow card to see out the game with minimal fuss and move ever closer to a place in the last four and a ticket through to France 2019, while the Philippines will head into their final group stage – with Thailand – harboring similar ambitions.*afc.com
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