Wang Dandan scored twice in the second half and China rallied to beat Japan 3-1 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, yesterday and book a place in the final of the Women's Asia Cup against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
China's Wang Dandan (second from left) scores against Japan during their Women's Asian Cup semifinal in Ho Chi Minh City.
The North Koreans beat Australia 3-0 in the earlier semifinal behind a hat trick by Ri Kum-suk.
The two finalists have dominated the competition in the last decade, with China winning eight of the past 10 titles and North Korea successful in the other two, in 2001 and 2003.
Japan took a surprise lead against the defending champion in the opening minute of the second half when Homare Sawa scored from a tight angle. Japan almost doubled the advantage soon after when Aya Miyama's corner swung in and hit the post.
But China equalized in the 61st minute as Wang's shot hit the post and bounced into the net off the goalkeeper. Wang scored her second six minutes later with a shot from inside the box, and Han Duan put the game away in the 74th.
Ri, the reigning Asian Football Confederation player of the year, opened the scoring in the second minute.
(Agencies via Shanghai Daily June 6, 2008)