A second half goal from Shihu Otsuka proved to be the difference as Japan claimed a stunning 2-1 win over Korea in the final of the 8th Women’s Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The result means that Japan have both regained the trophy that they last won in 2007 and sealed their place at next year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.
It was a remarkable result for Japan, who fell to a 3-0 defeat to their opponents in the Pool phase. However, the brilliance of their performance in Friday’s final ensured that they were worthy winners.
Japan struck the first goal in the 27th minute when Aki Mitsuhashi – later named player of the match – fired in from open play. Otsuka’s killer blow arrived 15 minutes from full time, with Kim Jong Eun reducing the deficit in the dying minutes of the contest.
“It is good to regain the Asia Cup but more importantly we have now earned our place in the World Cup by being the continental champions”, said Japan coach You Seuing-jin. “This will boost the morale of the team and we look forward to the World Cup in Holland next year.”
Japan become the ninth team to be confirmed qualifiers for next summer’s showpiece at the Kyocera Stadium, joining host Netherlands, Australia, England, Argentina, Germany, Korea, New Zealand and China. The tenth qualifier will be confirmed this weekend upon the conclusion of the Pan American Cup in Mendoza, Argentina.
India sealed third place thanks to a penalty shootout victory over defending champions China. Regulation time in the match ended with the scores locked at 2-2, but India triumphed 3-2 in the shoot-out thanks in part to a great display from Goalkeeper of the Tournament Savitha.
Malaysia took fifth place with a 5-1 win over Kazakhstan, while Chinese Taipei finished in seventh place after beating Hong Kong 3-1. Chinese Taipei's young star Wu Huang Yu was named the most promising player of the tournament.
More info on the 2013 Women's Asia Cup can be found at the following locations:
Official website: www.8thwomensasiacup.com
Final: Korea 1-2 Japan
3rd Place: China 2-2 India (2-3 after shoot-out)
5-6: Malaysia 5-1 Kazakhstan
7-8: Chinese Taipei 3-1 Hong Kong
Player of the Tournament: Kim Jong Eun (Korea)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Savitha (India)
Most Promising Player: Wu Huang Yu (Chinese Taipei)
Player–of-the Final: Aki Mitsuhashi (Japan)
Top scorer: Kim Da Rae (Korea) – 9 goals
7: Chinese Taipei
8: Hong Kong China
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