Women’s Asian Cup: China hand South Korea dramatic 2-1 defeat to win record ninth title

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Goalkeeper Zhu Yu pulled off a sensational one-handed save in second-half injury time and substitute Xiao Yuyi scored a dramatic winner a minute later as China scripted a dramatic come-from-behind win over South Korea to clinch a record-extending ninth title in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup here on Sunday.

Korea were at the top for most of the match and looked cruising towards victory an hour into the match before they suffered a heartbreak defeat.

Till 75th minutes in the final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, played at the DY Patil Stadium here, it looked that it was not China’s day.

Against expectations, South Korea had surged to a 2-0 lead in the first half and even after the change of ends, things were not going in favour of the eight-time winners who had reached the summit clash by stunning two-time champions Japan in a penalty shoot-out.

With 22 minutes to go in the match, China earned a penalty and Tang Jiali converted it and China’s fortunes took an upsurge as they fought back brilliantly to score a dramatic victory.

China entered the final chasing their first title since 2006 against a Korea Republic side who had never laid their hands on the coveted trophy.

China, unbeaten in seven previous meetings with Korea, started the game brightly and had the first look at the goal within seconds when Wu Chengshu played the ball to Tang Jiali just above the area, but the midfielder’s effort was easily dealt with by Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi.

With Korea in the ascendancy, China 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, however, suffered more woe in the closing stages of the first half when a VAR review saw Korea awarded a penalty for Yao Lingwei’s handball, with Ji So-Yun converting from the spot.

China 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 Korea gave them little room to operate in the early stages.

China, however, received a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty for Lee Young-Ju’s handball, with Tang Jiali netting from the spot in the 68th minute.

Boosted by the goal, China began to dictate play and drew level four minutes later thanks to some poor defending by the Koreans.

Goalscorer Tang did well to beat two Korea defenders before sending a delightful cross into the six-yard box for an unmarked Zhang Linyan to nod home the equaliser.

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 broke Korea’s hearts in added time with Xiao Yuyi stunningly finishing off Wang Shanshan’s pass as a record-extending ninth title was sealed.

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