Japan Wins Women's Asian Games Soccer Gold 4-1
|Nakashima Yoshino #11 of Japan celebrates her goal with teammates during the 19th Asian Games Women's Semifinal match between China and Japan at Linping Sports Centre Stadium on October 03, 2023 in Hangzhou, China(Image-Getty)
Japan successfully defended their women's Asian Games soccer gold medal in a thrilling match on Friday, securing a 4-1 victory over North Korea. The game unfolded with high anticipation and a spirited crowd of 36,166 spectators.
Despite the overwhelming support from the fans, North Korea faced a setback in the second half, as Japan netted three goals in just six minutes, solidifying their claim to the gold medal. This marked Japan's third Asian Games title in the last four editions of the tournament.
The match started with North Korea showing early dominance, but it was Japan that struck first in the 10th minute. Yuzuki Yamamoto's well-timed pass behind the defense found Yoshino Nakashima, who confidently converted the opportunity with a first-time finish, beating the advancing Kim Un Hui in the North Korean goal.
North Korea fought back, with Choe Ku Mok and Hong Song Ok attempting long-range shots, but their efforts went off target. Japanese defender Toko Koga also made a crucial intervention, denying Sung Hyang Sim a clear shot on goal with a perfectly timed challenge in the penalty area.
However, North Korea managed to level the score in the 38th minute. Wi Jong Sim sped down the left flank and delivered a low cross that Kim Kyong Yong skillfully placed into the bottom corner, much to the delight of the crowd.
The North Koreans intensified their pressure early in the second half, with Hong's shot cleared off the line by Koga. Nonetheless, Japan regained the lead, this time from a set-piece. Momoko Tanikawa's corner from the left eluded Ri Kum Hyang, and Haruka Osawa, who came on as a substitute, headed the ball home from close range.
Three minutes later, Tanikawa extended Japan's lead with a shot from the edge of the area that goalkeeper Kim could only deflect into her own net.
In the 72nd minute, Remina Chiba sealed the victory for Japan, breaking through the North Korean defense and confidently placing her shot over Kim's head.
Earlier in the day, hosts China secured the bronze medal with a resounding 7-0 victory over Uzbekistan in the third-place playoff.