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Bolden, Filipinas face familiar foes

Ace striker Sarina Bolden and the rest of the Philippine national women’s football team try to replicate their win over the same Chinese Taipei squad last year when they cross paths in the 2024 Asian Football Confederation Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament second round on Thursday, 26 October, at the Perth Rectangular Stadium in Perth, Australia.

Kickoff time of the Group A showdown is at 4 p.m. with both teams looking to capture their first win in the qualifier for the Paris Summer Games next year.

Host Australia and Iran will figure in the other Group A clash at 7 p.m.

The Pinay booters will be carrying the psychological advantage over the Taiwanese, who they eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India.

It was Bolden, the Filipinas’ all-time scorer with 26 goals, who delivered the winning goal in the close-shaved penalty shootout, 1-1 (4-3), that propelled the Philippines to its historic first Women’s World Cup appearance last July.

Also back for the Filipinas are prized forward Quinley Quezada, midfielders Sara Eggesvik and Bella Pasion, defenders Hali Long and Angela Beard and solid goalkeepers Olivia McDaniel and Inna Palacios.

Filipinas head coach Mark Torcaso said he is happy he was able to be familiarized with the squad during the Hangzhou Asian Games last month where the Pinays advanced to the quarterfinals.

“We had an opportunity to work with the players prior to the Olympic qualifiers and that’s the one thing we’re happy with. We wanted to get as much time with the players as much as possible,” Torcaso said in a previous interview.

“It was a totally valuable thing for us.”

The squad came to Perth early to set a training camp before the OQT.

The Filipinas will take on the Matildas on 29 August at the 60,000-seater Perth Stadium before squaring off with the Iranians on 1 November.

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