KUALA LUMPUR: Japan pulled a major upset when they defeated the defending champions China 4-1 in the semi-finals to set-up summit class against Korea in the 8th Women’s Asia Cup being played at the National hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The Japanese scored a convincing 4-1 victory over the defending Champions China, while three times champions Korea pipped Silver Medalists of 2009 Asia Cup India by 2-1 in the semi-finals.
Japan coach You Seung-jin said that he was looking forward to the game against Korea in the final as they want to take revenge for the group defeat, where Korea won 3-0.
“It was tough match against China but more than anything I wanted to make the final so that we can play the Koreans again. I believe we can win the title again after the 2007 victory,” he said.
Seung-jin also said that China were good tactically and had a lot of mobility in the match.
“So it is a good win for us after matching them. The early goals helped and it gave us the edge in the game,” he said
The Japanese went into the match without having the pressure of qualifying for the World Cup hanging over them. They have already secured their berth with the 1-2 defeat of India in the earlier semi-final to South Korea.
It showed in their game as they took a 2–0 first half lead.
Mazuki Arai scored the opening goal as early as the 6th minute from a field attempt. And Akane Shibta added the second goal from another field attempt in the 18th minute to stay in command of the match.
The Chinese, unbeaten thus far, were a pale shadow of the side that played in the preliminary round. They were not able to move the ball well due to the tight defence set up by the Japanese.
The Japanese started the second half the same way they ended the first. They scored early.
Otsuka Shiho scored off a penalty corner in the 42nd minute and this was followed three minutes later with another penalty corner goal from Aki Mitsuhashi.
The Chinese managed to reduce the deficit in he 52nd minute through Yang Peng from a penalty corner conversion. But the goal came late to save the match. The Japanese were well on their way to the final.
China coach You Baodong said they were surprise by the defeat.
“We did expect a tough match but we felt that we could have beaten the Japanese. They played well and took their chances well to score the important goals. We were unable to match them,’ he said.
In the 5-8 placing classification match of 8th Women’s Asia Cup, Kazakhstan defeated Hong Kong 5-0 to set up a meeting with Malaysia.