|August 2nd, 2012|
|13||Pool A||8:30am||KOR - JPN||1 - 0 (0 - 0)||Final|
Cheun Seul Ki’s solitary strike handed Korea a deserved first victory of Group A, condemning Japan to a third straight loss, finally breaking through at penalty corner time – one successful effort from nine attmepts. That stat illustrated the Korean domination as Japan struggled to get a grip on the game after a good early spell.
The first half was a slow burner as the two evenly matched sides – Korea eighth and Japan ninth in the world rankings. – took their time to figure out the best plan of attack. For Japan, it was through swift moves down the flanks. From the pick of these, Izuki Tanaka almost jinked her way in from the right but Jang Soo Ji did well to block. Rika Komazawa was similarly threatening.
Korea, however, bounced back, surprisingly while Park Seon Mi – on her 30th birthday – served out a yellow card offence. During her absence, they won the first of their three corners, dragged inches wide by Lee Son Ok. Kim Da Rae also went close on the reverse as the tie opened up but no goals accrued before the interval. A glut of second half corners should have seen them home and dry by a comfortable margin but, in the end, just the one sufficed as Cheon Seul Ki picked out the top corner in the 42nd minute.
It was just reward for their attacking intentions, controlling the play and picking off numerous interceptions in key areas as Japan struggled to make a mark. Five further corners followed with Lee Seon Ok dragging just over, Cheon Seul Ki rattling the crossbar while Nagisa Hayashi was forced to save another off the line. Cheon had another batted away by Sakiyo Asano’s stick while Japan never truly threatened in the second period.
The result gets Korea off the mark and can now look upwards in the table for their battle with the Netherlands on Saturday while Japan meet Belgium hoping for a first result.
CHEON Seul Ki (KOR), on today's victory: "So far we had lost two matches so for us to get our first victory today makes us much happier. This is my first Olympics and my first Olympic goal so it was really fantastic."
Yukari YAMAMOTO (JPN), on the result: "I'm so sorry for this defeat. We targeted this and we wanted to win this game. We need to try and not concede goals. We will do (this) as best as possible"