AFC Women’s Asian Cup began on 20th January and we all witnessed some entertaining matches. Also, there were some wonderful goals on the display from the group stage. Now that the quarterfinals round is over we take a review of all the four games that were played with exclusive match highlights and match reports.
JAPAN (7) – (0) THAILAND
Japan on Sunday qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in style as they reached the semifinals of the ongoing AFC Asian Cup with a 7-0 thrashing of Thailand at the DY Patil Stadium.
With Thailand missing several players due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their squad, Japan started as favourites and Futoshi Ikeda’s side took an immediate grip on the match. Mana Iwabuchi, after two attempts in the early stages, had a chance to put Japan ahead in the 14th minute after Wilaiporn Boothduang fouled Rin Sumida in the penalty box. Goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing, however, judged correctly to deny Iwabuchi.
Boonsing would prove to be a stumbling block for Japan as the match progressed but there was little the goalkeeper could do to deny the defending champions their opener in the 27th minute, with Yuika Sugasawa’s right-footed shot from the centre of the box proving too powerful for the custodian to stop. Thailand continued to bravely deny their opponents but was hit again in the first-half stoppage time, with Hinata Miyazawa scoring from close range following a goalmouth melee. Any hopes Thailand had of a possible comeback were dashed three minutes into the second half, with Sumida scoring Japan’s third with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box into the bottom right corner.
With Thailand visibly tiring, Japan maintained a high tempo and their constant pressure saw them earn a second spot-kick in the 64th minute when Phonphirun Philawan was penalised for bringing Sugasawa down, with the striker converting from the spot with a well-placed shot into the bottom right corner. With Thailand’s resistance broken, it rained goals for Japan in the remaining minutes with Riko Ueki scoring their fifth in the 75th from the right side of the penalty box. Sugasawa completed her hat-trick five minutes later with an effort from just outside the box and added her fourth with a header in the 80th minute. Japan faces China in the semi-finals on Thursday.
AUSTRALIA (0) – (1) KOREA REPUBLIC
South Korea halted the Australian juggernaut with a 1-0 win to enter the semifinals of the Women’s Asian Cup and book a 2023 FIFA World Cup spot on Sunday at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex courtesy of Ji So-Yun’s late long-range stunner.
The Matildas dominated the first half an hour but failed to make their supremacy count, with Sam Kerr finding the post with a powerful header. But the Matildas increasingly began to struggle as a resolute and well-drilled Korea found a foothold in the match. Kerr had her first sight of goal as early as the seventh minute, chesting a long ball into the penalty area before rifling her effort over the bar. Twelve minutes later the Australians threatened again, with Kerr involved once more. The Chelsea striker flicked the ball into the path of Mary Fowler as the Korean defence was backpedaling, but the midfielder’s effort from distance was pushed wide by Kim Jung-mi. From the resulting corner, the Matildas went closer still with Kerr’s header coming back off the woodwork.
The Koreans were hanging on. Colin Bell’s side were then handed the opportunity to take an unexpected lead when, after a lengthy VAR check, were awarded a penalty after Caitlin Foord was judged to have fouled Lee Geum-min inside the area. Cho So-Hyun, however, squandered the opportunity to give her side the lead with only five minutes remaining in the half when she fired her right foot spot-kick high over Lydia Williams’ crossbar. The Koreans came out for the second half looking to make amends for that miss, with Choe Yu-ri forcing Williams into a fine save six minutes after the restart.
While the goalkeeper was on hand again four minutes later to deny Cho So-Hyun’s header. Kerr’s struggles in front of goal continued with 15 minutes remaining when she dragged her effort wide of the goal after substitute Cortnee Vine’s pace down the right flank had put her in a position to provide her teammate with a gilt-edged opportunity. Then, with two minutes remaining, Ji hit the winner. Picking up possession 30 yards from goal she strode forward before unleashing a right-foot drive that Williams could only admire as it flew into the top corner.
CHINA (3) – (1) VIETNAM
China stamped a ticket to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by defeating Vietnam 3-1 in the quarterfinal match of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup at DY Patil Stadium on Sunday.
Though China won all of their previous 10 games against Vietnam, the Southeast Asian force caught the Steel Roses off guard to score first in the 11th minute. Yang Lina’s poor clearance was cut before Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung broke China’s net, giving Vietnam a 1-0 lead. It took the Chinese national team about 14 minutes to calm down, find their pace, and rally. In the 25th minute, Wang Shanshan’s shot in the box was rejected by the goalkeeper, but she appeared in the right place at the right time, scoring to tie the game with a smart push.
It was her fifth goal of the tournament, and she has scored in all three of China’s games. Piece by piece, China regained control of the pitch and began to create more threats against Vietnam’s goal. Having finished the first half, China led in shot attempts, shots on target, and ball possession. First, Wang Shuang assisted Wang Shanshan to score on a crossover from right in the 52nd minute.
Then Wang Shuang again pierced the opponents’ defensive line with a through ball to Tang Jiali. Tang paused to dodge the defender and then blasted the ball into the top right corner of the goal, extending China’s lead to 3-1. Vietnam had the chance to cut their deficit in the 87th minute, but Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy’s penalty kick was denied by the bar. China will face Japan in the semifinals on February 3. Japan beat Thailand 7-0 in the quarterfinal match earlier on Sunday.
The Philippine women’s football team knocked out Chinese Taipei to advance to the Asian Cup semifinals and clinch a historic World Cup seat at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India on Sunday.
The dramatic feat secured the Philippines a spot in football’s most prestigious world tournament for the first time ever. Quinley Quezada scored at the 49’ mark to give the Philippines a 1-0 lead, but Zhuo Li-Ping found an 83rd-minute equalizer to send the match to extra time. The 30-minute extra time, though, still wasn’t enough as both teams found it difficult to crack the 1-1 deadlock, sending the match to an intense penalty shoot-out.
Ting Chi and Wang Hsiang-Huei scored Chinese Taipei’s first two spot-kicks, with the Philippines’ Sara Castañeda and Tahnai Annis answering both. Chen Ying-Hui scored next for the Taiwanese, but the Philippines’ Jessica Miclat missed to give Taipei a 3-2 advantage. Relief came for the Filipinas when Hsu Yi-Yun missed for Chinese Taipei. The score, though, remained the same in the next two attempts as Filipina Hali Long and Taiwanese Su Sin-Hsin also went off the mark.
Luckily for the Philippines, McDaniel stepped up next and tied it at 3-3. The Philippines then found a golden opportunity to finish off the match after Zhuo, who found the late equalizer to send the quarterfinal tie to extra time and a penalty shoot-out, missed her attempt for the Taiwanese. Bolden, who has been active the entire match, finally ended the nervy shoot-out as she drilled her penalty kick past Chinese Taipei goalkeeper Cheng Ssu-Yu. The Philippines, mentored by Australian Alen Stajcic, will take on Korea next for a spot in the Asian Cup final on Thursday, February 3.
THE TEAMS WHO HAVE QUALIFIED FOR THE SEMI-FINALS ARE AS FOLLOWS;
THE SEMI-FINALS FIXTURE ARE AS FOLLOWS;
3rd February – KOREA REPUBLIC vs PHILIPPINES, Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex [1:30 PM]
3rd February – CHINA PR vs JAPAN, Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex [7:30 PM]
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