World champions Japan remain on track to qualify for the 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament thanks to a 2-1 victory over Korea Republic, while the second and final berth remains wide open following the second matchday on Saturday in Jinan, China.
China were again held to a scoreless draw, this time by Korea DPR, with the hosts sitting on two points from as many matches. A crowd of 10,000 proved unable to inspire the Chinese, who were again found wanting in the attacking third, against a Korea DPR side that had defeated Australia 1-0 in the group opener.
Australia for their part bounced back to form with a 5-1 victory against Thailand. Striker Michelle Heyman, a late call-up following an injury to Sam Kerr, scored a double and her first goals in the national team strip. The Matildas led 4-0 at the interval with Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt also on the scoresheet. Young midfielder Emily van Egmond extended the advantage with Thailand’s Junpen Seesraum hitting a consolation.
Following a 3-0 opening win against Thailand, Japan were made to work much harder for victory against the ever-improving Korea Republic. An early goal for Mizuho Sakaguchi had the world champions on their way but teenage starlet Ji So-Yun restored parity on the half-hour, only for Shinobu Ohno’s goal in first half injury-time goal to be the difference.
After two games, Japan are top of the six-team table with six points, followed by DPR Korea (four), Australia (three), China (two), and Korea Republic (one), while Thailand are yet to open their account.