Taiwan ease past Iran to advance to quarter-finals

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Jan 26 (Reuters) - Taiwan joined China in the quarter-finals of the Women's Asian Cup on Wednesday with a 5-0 win over debutants Iran in Navi Mumbai taking the three-time champions into the last eight.

Lai Li-chin scored a hat-trick while Chen Yen-ping and Wang Hsiang-huei were also on target for Kazuo Echigo's side as they picked up their first win of this year's competition in Group A.

Taiwan were playing their second game in the tournament after Sunday's meeting with India was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Indian squad that resulted in the hosts being forced to withdraw from the competition.

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Lai opened the scoring after four minutes when she slotted her low shot past Zohreh Koudaei and she doubled her side's advantage 27 minutes later with a miss-hit cross that went in off the inside of the post.

Chen put the Taiwanese three goals ahead when she struck from close range following a parry by Koudaei that saw the ball drop at her feet five minutes before the interval.

Lai completed her hat-trick from the penalty spot 20 minutes into the second half and Wang slotted in 12 minutes from time to complete a comfortable win, securing second place in Group A in the process.

The Chinese, who had originally been scheduled to face India on Wednesday, had already booked their place in the quarter-finals as Group A winners following wins over the Taiwanese and Iranians in their opening two matches.

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Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Christian Radnedge

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