World Cup quarterfinalists DPR Korea met strong challenge from a tenacious Japanese side and suffered a 2-3 defeat at the last moment in the first match of the East Asian Football Federation(EAFF) Women's Championship 2008 in Chongqing, Southwest China on Monday.
Japan made a flying start with midfielder Kozue Ando's 4th-minute header at the far post after Aya Miyama fed a fine cross from the left.
The Koreans took control of the rest of the first half, and their efforts were rewarded on 38 minutes. Kim Yong Ae rounded keeper Miho Fukumoto during a clumsy outing on the right flank before swinging a pinpoint center to set up for their ace striker Ri Kum Suk, who headed into the unguarded net.
Ri Un Gyong put the Koreans ahead 10 minutes into the second half, when the midfielder fired a 25-meter shot to beat Fukumoto after a deflection inside the box.
The Nadeshiko got the equalizer from a freekick in the 83rd minute, Aya Miyama curved a long-range shot to beat keeper Han Hye Yong.
Japan's skipper Homare Sawa took the winner in the third minute of the stoppage time with a cunning shot.
Four teams are included in the ongoing tournament. Hosts China will play defending champions South Korea later.
(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2008)