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China PR scripted a remarkable comeback after being two goals down at half-time to beat Korea Republic 3-2 in the final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Sunday.
This is the Steel Roses’ record-extending ninth WAC title and their first since 2006. China’s triumph is doubly special for head coach Shui Qingxia, a five-time winner of this tournament as a player, who becomes the first former player to win this title as coach.
China pressed the Korean defence early with Wang Shuang leading the charge. This strategy worked perfectly as the girls in red controlled possession.
Korea tried to counter the stronghold by playing the ball long, but China’s physicality helped it make timely interceptions and even attempt some shots at goal to frustrate the Koreans.
Set up perfectly
Despite the early momentum, it was the Chinese who conceded first in the 12th minute. Choe Yuri was set up perfectly with a clean cross from Lee Geummin. Neither was marked adequately and the Koreans took the lead.
Korea doubled its lead in the 44th minute when Ji converted from the spot after her side won a handball appeal when a Chinese defender unintentionally handled the ball in the box.
The Steel Roses came into the second half with a few changes in personnel but were unable to rattle the Korean defence.
China made a comeback when it was also awarded a penalty for a handball appeal. Tang Jiali made no mistake as she slotted this through Kim Jung Mi’s fingertips.
China levelled scores in the 71st minute when the Korean defence was caught napping. Jiali once again got hold of the ball, sent in a lifted cross for substitute Zhang Linyan who headed it to the back of the net, with Shui roaring in the dugout.
The now nine-time champion put the game to bed in the 93rd minute when Jiali supplied Xiao Yuyi, another substitute, who kept her cool to bury the ball in the far corner.