Japan upset reigning champions South Korea 2-0 at the second round of the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) Women's Championship in Chongqing, Southwest China on Thursday.
Beating the world cup quarterfinalist DPR Korea in the opening match, the in-form Japan seized control early in the first half, posing great pressure to the Koreans' defending line. Forward Eriko Arakawa opened the scoring in the 15th minute when she headed home a well-curved right wing cross fed by Yukari Kinga.
In the rest of the first half the Japanese side still had chances to extend their lead. Midfielder Tomoe Kato's in-area shot was blocked by Korean keeper Kim Jung Mi while playmaker Aya Miyama's long-rang attempt went slightly over the bar. The Koreans also squandered a number of opportunities to even the score.
Forward Shinobu Ohno secured the victory for Japan 10 minutes into the second half, when she chested down a long lob pass and lashed the ball into the bottom right corner.
"Our girls played smartly in the game. We managed to control the rhythm and won the game in an effective way," said Norio Sasaki, head coach of Japan in a post-match media conference.
"If we keep playing like this, we can defeat China in the next match." he added.
Japan will take on China in the final round of the four-team tournament. A victory is good enough to convoy Japan up to the throne of East Asian women's football kingdom.
(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2008)