PERTH — Sarina Bolden added two more international goals to her name on Thursday as she led the Philippines to a come-from-behind 4-1 win over Chinese-Taipei in the opener of the second round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the HBF Park.
The Bolden brace were also the 27th and 28th international goal for the Philippines as the Filipinas continued their quest for an Olympic slot on a high note.
The higher-ranked Chinese-Taipei, no. 38 in the FIFA Women’s Rankings, took the upperhand early in the second half with Hsu Yi-yun put the ball behind the net with a deft touch in the 47th minute.
That goal awakened the Filipinas who played with less aggressiveness in the first half. New head coach Mark Torcaso admitted they started slow. But as soon as the Chinese-Taipei wake up call sounded, the Filipinas were all business.
Bolden hit a spot kick to the deep corner after Meryll Serrano was brought down inside the box for a penalty in the 53rd minute.
Katrina Guillou followed up Bolden’s marker six minutes after with a blast from inside the box set up beautifully by Tahnai Annis.
Add a little bit of luck as the Filipinas were saved from what could be an equalizer but Lee Hsiu-chin’s attempt grazed the top right post in the 82nd minute.
Bolden struck again in the 83rd minute near the goalmouth for her brace. Once the ball hit the net, she ran onto the stands where a group of Filipinas fans celebrated.
Chandler McDaniel, who checked in only in the second half scored the insurance goal in the 90th.
That win in Group A serves as a big confidence boost for the Filipinas ahead of a crucial clash with World Cup semifinalist and host Australia on Sunday at the 60,000-seater Optus Stadium.
The winner of the match will get the inside track on a berth in the third and final round of Olympic qualifiers, where the top teams in the three groups as well as the top second-placer will advance.