The Philippine Women’s National Football Team will have to wait for five years for its Olympic aspiration, dropping its 2024 Paris Olympic as surging Uzbekistan smashed India, 3-0, to enter the third round of the 2024 OIympic Qualifying Tournament – Asian Zone (OQT), in Tashkent on Wednesday evening.
Nilufar Kudratova wasted no time in the Group C finale, scoring on a strike in the second minute off a left corner inswing by Lyudmila Karachik.
Team captain Karachik then scored a second half brace with strikes in the 51st and 83rd minute to be the best group runner-up, helping the world number 50 in eliminating the much fancied South Korea, China, and the Philippines.
Earlier, the Filipinas momentarily breathed a sigh of relief when Wang Shanshan unwittingly eliminated her team, scoring on a clutch header off a set piece in the 78th minute en route to China’s draw of South Korea, 1-1, in Group B action Xiamen.
The Steel Roses could have entered the third round but late sub Yan Jinjin’s open running strike against goalkeeper Kim Jung-Mi narrowly steered to the left of the goal.
In the day cap, the Filipinas won, 1-0, versus Iran in Perth with a lone goal from Tahnai Annis in the 19th minute to finish the Group A competition.
Despite having a similar two wins (six points) with Group C runner-up Uzbekistan, the Filipinas have a lower -4 goal difference.
The Uzbeks earned the last third round ticket with a +2 goal difference.
South Korea, meanwhile, was limited only to five points with a win and two draws in Group B, to be in sixth place overall.
By leading their groups, Australia, North Korea, and Japan automatically qualified for the third round.
The Uzbeks will face World Cup semifinalist Australia while the world number eight Nadeshiko will face their East Asian neighbors and erstwhile world number ten the Azaleas in a two-legged affair in February 2024.
The winners of both series will book the grand tickets to Paris next year.
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