AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 – Semifinals review

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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.

SEMI-FINAL 1 (KOREA REPUBLIC vs PHILIPPINES)

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AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 – Semifinals review AFC WOMENS ASIAN CUP 2022 Match 55 1

KOREA REPUBLIC (2) – (0) PHILIPPINES

A clinical Korea dominated proceedings to beat Philippines 2-0 in the semi-finals to advance to their maiden AFC Women’s Asian Cup summit clash on Thursday at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.

MATCH REPORT

Korea, who have beaten pre-tournament favourites Australia in the quarterfinals, wasted no time in applying pressure from the get-go and opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Cho headed in Kim Hye-Ri’s corner kick past Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel. Eager to impress in their first-ever semi-final appearance, the Philippines were undeterred by the early setback and Sofia Harrison’s attempt from distance six minutes later showed they meant business.

The Taeguk Ladies, however, continued to hold the lion’s share of possession and came close through Son Hwa-Yeon’s efforts in the 15th and 19th minutes, but McDaniel’s safe hands kept the Philippines in the game. Despite having to play on counter-attacks, Philippines had their moments with Katrina Guillou giving the Koreans a scare in the 24th minute when her long-range strike missed by mere inches. Korea, however, looked dangerous every time they surged forward and doubled their lead in the 34th minute when an unmarked Son tapped in Choo Hyo-Joo’s cross.

Philippines head coach Alen Stajcic sent on Malea Louise Cesar, Chandler McDaniel, and Sara Castaneda at the start of the second half but the changes had little effect as Korea goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi was hardly tested. It was harder for Korea to find opportunities in the second half as the Philippines kept their defence compact, but they almost found a goal in the 67th minute when Son got at the end of a series of passes only to shoot straight at McDaniels.

Korea continued to attack the Philippines goalmouth with Cho and substitute Lee Min-a getting into the thick of the action in the final 15 minutes, but couldn’t keep their strikes on target. Lee should have scored the third in the 87th minute after squeezing past two defenders to collect a through pass in the final third, but McDaniels stood firm to deny her.

MATCH CONCLUSION

Philippines can be proud of their efforts though as they gave the match their all and can look forward to an inaugural appearance in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. All the semifinalists of the Asian Cup directly qualified for the World Cup. The Korea Republic is in the final, and on Sunday they will face China PR, the winner of the second semifinal. The eight-time record champions of the competition defeated holders Japan in the penalty shootout.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

SEMI-FINAL 2 (CHINA vs JAPAN)

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AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 – Semifinals review AFC WOMENS ASIAN CUP 2022 Match 57 edited scaled

CHINA (2) – (2) JAPAN [Penalty Shootout (4) – (3)]

A gritty China fought back from a goal-down twice before stunning two-time defending champions Japan 4-3 in the penalty shootout in the semi-finals to book a summit clash against Korea in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Thursday at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.

MATCH REPORT

Japan made their intentions clear in the first minute with Hinata Miyazawa testing China custodian Yu Zhu from distance, while Riko Ueki missed a golden opportunity to put the defending champions ahead three minutes later from inside the box. Ueki was a constant threat and almost found the breakthrough after Ruka Norimatsu set her through on goal in the sixth minute but China goalkeeper Yu Zhu was quick to block the forward’s effort. Japan increased the pressure with Saki Kumagai and Mana Iwabuchi both missing from inside the six-yard-box as China soaked up the pressure.

Japan should have taken the lead in the 21st minute when Miyazawa sent a delightful through ball but Ueki’s effort from close range was saved by an advancing Zhu. China’s defence, however, was finally breached in the 26th minute when Miyazawa burst down the left flank and sent a perfect cross to Ueki, who scored with a glancing header past Zhu. Japan came close to extending their advantage on the stroke of half-time with Miyazawa sending her long-range effort just wide with just one goal separating the sides going into the break.

Japan’s missed opportunities cost them dearly as China drew level just a minute into the restart, with Xiao Yuyi muscling her way past a marker before sending a delightful ball to Wu Chengshu to finish. Japan almost replied with a goal eight minutes later when Miyazawa set up Iwabuchi nicely at the top of the box but the midfielder couldn’t find the target, sending her effort wide. Japan should have taken the lead in the 75th minute but Ueki failed to find the back of the net from close range after Iwabuchi’s cut-back, with extra time needed to decide the semi-final.

China survived a scare in the 97th minute when Ueki set up Hasegawa nicely at the top of the box but the midfielder’s effort was denied by the crossbar. Japan’s persistence finally paid off in the 103rd minute after Ueki beat the China offside trap to finish off Hasegawa’s free-kick with a diving header. Zhu then had to save Hasegawa’s shot from inside the box and Ueki’s header moments later as Japan took a 2-1 lead going into the second half of extra-time.

China failed to make much headway in the second period but just when Japan thought they had secured their place in the final, up stepped China skipper Wang Shanshan to score the equaliser as she reacted fastest to Zhang Xin’s cross in the 119th minute to force the game into penalties. Zhu then saved the first and fifth penalties and Shanshan, fittingly, scored the winner from the spot as China advanced to their first final since 2008.

MATCH CONCLUSION

Japan, who had triumphed in 2014 and 2018, dominated the match but wasted chances to fail in their bid for a hat-trick of titles. Japan led twice in the match, first in the normal time and second in the extra time but China had answered each time to take the match to the penalty shootout. As the epic match ended 2-2 after extra time, China prevailed 4-3 in the dramatic penalty shoot-out to remain on course for a record-extending ninth title in the continental showpiece. Earlier in the first semi-finals at the same venue, Korea defeated the Philippines 2-0 to make it to their maiden final. The summit clash will be played at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Here are the teams who have qualified for the Final of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup;

Korea Republic

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CHINA PR

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Match details of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup final

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