China beat South Korea, clinch record ninth AFC Women’s Asian Cup title
The Steel Roses came back from two goals down to win the final.
South Korea looked to be cruising to their first crown after taking a 2-0 lead at half-time but China PR fought back after the breakthrough goals from Tang Jiali, Zhang Linyan, and Xiao Yuyi – who netted the winner deep into added time to seal her side a record-extending ninth title.
China PR entered the final chasing a record-extending ninth AFC Women’s Asian Cup title against a South Korea side who had never laid their hands on the coveted trophy.
Unbeaten in seven previous meetings with South Korea, China PR, started the game brightly. They had the first look at goal within seconds when Wu Chengshu played the ball to Tang Jiali just above the area. However, the midfielder’s effort was easily dealt with by South Korea goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi.
China PR continued to press with Zhang Xin trying from 35 yards out while Wang Shuang saw her effort in the 10th minute saved by Kim.
South Korea began to see more of the ball as the half progressed and were rewarded with their first look at goal in the 27th minute, with Lee Geum-min breaking into the box before sending a cross to Choe Yu-ri to score the 100th goal of the tournament.
With South Korea in the ascendancy, China PR survived a scare at the half-hour mark, goalkeeper Zhou Yu pulling off a point-blank save to deny Lim Seon-Joo’s header off a free-kick.
China PR, however, suffered more woe in the closing stages of the first half when a VAR review saw South Korea awarded a penalty following Yao Lingwei’s handball, with Ji So-Yun converting from the spot.
China PR head coach Shui Qingxia sent on Xiao Yuyi and Zhang Rui at the start of the second half to force their way back into the game but South Korea gave them little room to operate in the early stages.
China PR, however, received a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty after Lee Young-Ju’s handball, with Tang Jiali netting from the spot in the 68th minute.
Boosted by the goal, China PR began to dictate play and drew level four minutes later thanks to some poor defending by South Korea.
Goalscorer Tang did well to beat two South Korea defenders before sending a delightful cross into the six-yard box for an unmarked Zhang Linyan to nod home the equalizer.
South Korea could have then won it at the death with Zhou Yu pulling off a one-handed save before defender Wang Xiaoxue blocked Son Hwa-Yeon’s effort.
Having escaped, China PR broke South Korea’s hearts in added time with Xiao Yuyi stunningly finishing off Wang Shanshan’s assist.
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