Wuhan: A Korea derby will decide the winners of the EAFF (East Asian Football Federation) Women’s East Asian Cup 2015 after defending champions DPR Korea and Korea Republic both registered their second victories in the four-team round robin tournament, with wins over Japan and China respectively on Tuesday.
A stoppage-time goal saw Japan crash to their second defeat at the Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium as a second-string Nadeshiko let slip a first-half lead to go down 2-1 to Korea Republic while the North Koreans saw off the challenge of hosts China, who had clawed back a two-goal deficit only to see their slim chances of a first EAFF title end when the cup holders scored again to run out 3-2 winners
Emi Nakajima put a Japanese side that featured just six players from the side that finished runners-up at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup 1-0 up on the half-hour mark before two second-half goals turned the contest in the South Koreans’ favour.
Taeguek Nangja skipper Cho So-hyun cancelled out the INAC Kobe Leonessa midfielder’s opener before Cho’s Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels’ team-mate Jeon Ga-eul struck three minutes into second-half stoppage time as Korea Republic made it two wins out of two following their opening day win over China.
The Chinese went into Tuesday’s later fixture looking to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to Korea Republic on the opening day but the tournament hosts found themselves on the back foot with just five minutes played, when Kim Yun-mi put the North Koreans 1-0 before Wi Jong-sim doubled the advantage in the 24th minute with the first of her brace.
Li Dongna reduced the deficit from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute and just seven minutes after the interval China completed the comeback courtesy of Wang Shanshan, who highlighted her eye for goal at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup where she found the target against New Zealand and Cameroon.
But China were left playing catch up once again when Wi struck her second in the 69th minute with what transpired to be the winning goal, as DPR Korea joined their southern neighbours at the top-of-the-table ahead of the decisive Korea-derby on Saturday, which will determine the 2015 EAFF champions.