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AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022: Korea Republic and China PR reach the final

AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 Semifinal 1: Korea Republic 2-0 Philippines

AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 Semifinal 1 Korea Republic vs Philippines
Source: AFC Media

Korea Republic booked a place in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ final with a comfortable 2-0 win over Philippines at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Thursday.

Korea Republic’s first ever appearance in the final was sealed early, with Cho So-hyun and Son Hwa-yeon scoring in the first half for the East Asian side.

The Philippines, playing in their first AFC Women’s Asian Cup semi-final, can be proud of their efforts though as they gave the match their all and can look forward to an inaugural appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand.

Korea Republic wasted no time in applying heavy pressure from the get-go and opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute when Player of the Match Cho headed in Kim Hye-ri’s corner kick past Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.

Eager to impress in their first-ever semi-final appearance, the Philippines were undeterred by the early setback and Sofia Harrison’s attempt from distance six minutes later showed they meant business.

The Taeguk Ladies, however, continued to hold the lion’s share of possession and came close through Son Hwa-yeon’s efforts in the 15th and 19th minutes, but McDaniel’s safe hands kept the Philippines in the game.

Despite having to play on counter-attacks, Philippines had their moments with Katrina Guillou giving the Koreans a scare in the 24th minute when her long-range strike missed by mere inches.

Korea Republic, however, looked dangerous every time they surged forward and doubled their lead in the 34th minute when an unmarked Son tapped in Choo Hyo-joo’s cross.

Philippines head coach Alen Stajcic sent on Malea Louise Cesar, Chandler McDaniel and Sara Castaneda at the start of the second half but the changes had little effect as Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi was hardly tested.

It was harder for Korea Republic to find opportunities as the Philippines kept their defence compact, but they almost found a breakthrough in the 67th minute when Son got at the end of a series of passes only to shoot straight at McDaniels.

Korea Republic continued to attack the Philippines goalmouth with Cho and substitute Lee Min-a getting into the thick of the action in the final 15 minutes, but couldn’t keep their strikes on target.

Lee should have scored the third in the 87th minute after squeezing past two defenders to collect a through pass in the final third, but McDaniels stood firm to deny her but it mattered not as Korea Republic advanced to their first final.

AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 Semifinal 2: China PR 2-2 (4-3p) Japan

AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 Semifinal 2 China PR vs Japan
Source: AFC Media

China PR defeated Japan 4-3 on penalties to advance to the final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ final at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Thursday.

In an epic semi-final which ended 2-2 after extra time, goalkeeper Yu Zhu and captain Wang Shanshan played starring roles as China PR move within one match of winning a record-extending ninth AFC Women’s Asian Cup title.

It was a well deserved victory as China PR came from behind twice, with Wang Shanshan netting their second equaliser in the final minute of extra time. Yu Zhu then saved two of Japan’s penalties with the skipper scoring the fifth to take her team into Sunday’s final against Korea Republic.

China PR came into the semi-final hoping to advance to the final for a shot at a record-extending ninth title – having last lifted the trophy in 2006 – while Japan were two wins away from winning a hat-trick of AFC Women’s Asian Cup crowns.

Japan made their intentions clear in the first minute with Hinata Miyazawa testing China PR custodian Yu Zhu from distance, while Riko Ueki missed a golden opportunity to put the defending champions ahead three minutes later from inside the box.

Ueki was a constant threat and almost found the breakthrough after Ruka Norimatsu set her through on goal in the sixth minute but Yu Zhu was quick to block the forward’s effort.

Japan increased their tempo with Saki Kumagai and Mana Iwabuchi both missing from inside the six-yard-box as China PR soaked up the pressure.

Japan should have taken the lead in the 21st minute when Hinata Miyazawa sent a delightful through ball but Ueki’s effort from close range was saved by an advancing Yu Zhu.

China PR’s defence, however, was finally breached in the 26th minute when Hinata Miyazawa burst down the left flank and sent a perfect cross to Ueki, who scored with a glancing header.

Japan came close to extending their advantage on the stroke of half-time with Miyazawa sending her long-range effort just wide with the one goal separating the sides meaning China PR were still very much in the game.

It didn’t take long for Japan’s missed opportunities to cost them dearly as China PR drew level just a minute into the restart, with Xiao Yuyi muscling her way past a marker before sending a delightful ball to Wu Chengshu to finish.

Japan almost replied with a goal eight minutes later when Miyazawa set-up Iwabuchi nicely at the top of the box but the midfielder couldn’t find the target, sending her effort wide.

It was another missed opportunity for Japan in the 75th minute when Ueki failed to find the back of the net from close range after Iwabuchi’s cut-back, as the match headed into extra time.

Japan started the first period the brighter and China PR survived a scare in the 97th minute when Ueki set up Hasegawa nicely at the top of the box but the midfielder’s effort was denied by the crossbar.

Japan’s persistence finally paid off in the 103rd minute after Ueki beat the China PR offside trap to finish off Hasegawa’s free-kick with a diving header.

Yu Zhu then had to save Hasegawa’s shot from inside the box then Ueki’s header moments later as Japan took a 2-1 lead going into the second half of extra-time.

China PR failed to make much headway in the second period but just when Japan thought they had secured their place in the final, up stepped Wang Shanshan to score the equaliser as she reacted fastest to Zhang Xin’s cross in the 119th minute to force the game into penalties.

Yu Zhu then saved the first and fifth penalties and Wang Shanshan, fittingly, scored the winner from the spot as China PR advanced to their first final since 2008.

AFC Media

The final between China PR and Korea Republic will be played at 4.30 PM on 6th February 2022 at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

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