Korea DPR edged defending champions China 2-1 on Sunday to lift the AFC Women's Asian Cup in the perfect preparation for their tilt at Olympic gold in August. The North Koreans, who also won the title in 2001 and 2003, came from a goal down to secure the trophy with Kim Yong-Ae's second-half strike proving decisive.

Japan, who have also qualified for the Olympics, took third place after beating Australia 3-0 in the play-off match at Thong Nat Stadium.

Both North Korea and China had been in fine form on the road to the final, and the game got off to a frenetic start. North Korea attacked from the whistle and Ri Un-Suk drove a shot wide of the right-hand post in the sixth minute.

China's first attempt on goal came two minutes later when Zhang Ying sent a long-range effort over the bar. The large number of Chinese fans didn't have to wait long to celebrate after Bi Yan picked up the ball 30 yards from goal in the 11th minute and blasted a high-class effort into the back of the net.

North Korea pressed forward and Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Yan-ru pulled off a fine save to preserve China's lead just after the half hour mark when Ki Kyong-Hwa's powerful drive was pushed to safety.

Two quick strikes
The game was turned in the space of nine second half minutes. First, influential Korean skipper Ri Kum-Suk headed home from a cross in the 57th minute and then Kim Young-Ae stabbed in a rebound after Zhang was unable to collect a shot by substitute Kim Ok-Sim.

Wang Dandan had a chance to grab a late equaliser, but she sent her shot high and wide, and Korea DPR hung on for a deserved victory.

Earlier, Japan opened the scoring against Australia in the 17th minute through Yuki Nagasato when she latched onto Yukari Kinga's cross and sent her shot over goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

The Matildas came agonisingly close a number of times but it was Japan who took the initiative, winning a free kick 25 yards out with 11 left to play. Aya Miyama stepped up to send a fine effort into the net.

They rounded off victory in the 87th minute after a corner was cleared only as far as Homare Sawa who made no mistakes to make it 3-0.