Australia have maintained their perfect start to the Women's Asian Cup with a 4-0 win over Alen Stajcic's Philippines, securing safe passage to the quarter-finals in the process.
After being held goalless in the opening half, Sam Kerr's sixth goal of the tournament and 55th in Australian colours finally broke the deadlock against a well-drilled Philippines coached by ex-Matildas boss Stajcic.
An own goal and Emily van Egmond's fourth goal of the tournament then gave Tony Gustavsson's team breathing space as the Philippines' resistance crumbled.
Young gun Mary Fowler's classy finish from the edge of the box in the 88th minute wrapped up the victory.
Despite the scoreline, Monday's game was a stark contrast to Friday's opening fixture against Indonesia where Australia held a nine-goal half-time advantage on their way to an 18-0 thrashing of the world No.94.
Buoyed by a shock win over Thailand in their opening fixture, Stajcic's team came out firing with Chandler McDaniel firing an early effort wide for the Malditas.
Australia then huffed and puffed with all the field position and possession but couldn't find a way past the Filipino defence and debutante goalkeeper Kiara Fontanilla.
Australia's frustration as chance after chance went begging was clear to see made evident when Kerr, scorer of five goals in the Indonesia rout, screamed in anguish after steering a free header from a Steph Catley delivery wide of the goal after the half-hour mark.
All the frustration evaporated however just six minutes into the second term when Kerr headed home another dangerous Catley corner to give the Matildas the breakthrough they'd been searching for.
One became two in a flash when Dominique Jaylin Randle headed into her own net under pressure from Kerr.
Van Egmond, scorer of a hat-trick in the Indonesian demolition, then finished off another set-piece move in the 67th minute.
With the game secure, Gustavsson turned to his bench, Sydney FC attacker Cortnee Vine making her debut for the national team in the process, before Fowler iced the win with her seventh international goal.
"When you create that many chances that we did in the first half and the stats says that we should be up three-to-four nil and you don't get those goals, you can tend to sometimes lose your head and get frustrated," Gustavsson said.
"We talked about that in half-time ... and the players came in with a conviction and confidence in the second half that when the first goal comes [it] is probably going to [be followed by] the second and the third and the fourth, and so it did."
Stajcic meanwhile hailed his team's efforts, especially as his group was missing key players due to a COVID outbreak within the squad.
"We haven't done anything wrong yet we've had a couple of cases in our team and it really is difficult, it's the invisible enemy and it could be anyone at any moment," said the 58-year-old, who was facing the Matildas for the first time since his controversial sacking as their coach in 2019.
"The fact that we played against Australia today again without one of our key players who was unavailable, and rotating the squad, and actually played with our No.3 goalkeeper today ... that's her debut at this level.
"So many positives to take out of the performance today, on top of the actual effort they showed on the field."
Australia can seal top spot in the group when they face Thailand on Friday while Stajcic and the Philippines will hope to book their own quarter-final berth with a positive result against Indonesia on the same day.
Australian Associated Press