Japan claimed top spot in Group A at the AFC Women's Asian Cup on Monday with a 2-1 win over reigning champions Korea DPR in Chengdu, China.
The result means the high-flying Japan will meet Australia in the semi-finals, while host nation China will face Korea DPR. The two victors will qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Germany, as will the winner of the third-place play-off.
Japan raced to a two-goal lead against the Koreans within 12 minutes courtesy of goals from Yuki Nagasato and a Kozue Ando penalty. Korea DPR however displayed typical resilience to battle back with a goal from Ra Un-Sim midway through the second period, only to lose defender Jong Pok-Sim to a red card 11 minutes from the end.
In the final group match, Thailand ensured they left the tournament on a high by scoring a 2-0 win against Myanmar. Skipper Junpen Seesraum opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 15th minute before Myanmar had Khin Moe Wai sent off nine minutes later. The Thais failed to convert numerous chances after that but substitute Waranya Chaikantree made the win safe with a goal a minute before full-time.