Japan defend Women’s U-16 Championship title

Nanjing, Oct 6, 2013: Defender Kim Jong-sim missed from the spot as Japan successfully defended their title by beating DPR Korea 6-5 in the final of the AFC Women’s U-16 Championship which was decided by the penalty shootout.

Earlier the match was locked at 1-1 during the regulation time and was subsequently decided by the penalty shootout in which the clinical Japanese converted all of their kicks.

Minami Moeka, Ichise Nana, Rikako Kobayashi, Sugita Hina, Wakaho Kanda and Shiho Matsubara converted their penalty kicks while Mun Kyong Yong, Ri Ji Hyang, Sun Hyang Sim, Pak Song Jong and Ri Un Jong were successful to convert their chances for DPR Korea.

Earlier, Miura Narumi put the Japanese in front in the 63rd minute but the lead lasted only for eight minutes as second-half substitute Sun Hyang Sim equalised to make it 1-1 which remained the same in the regulations time.

In the previous edition of the competition, both the sides had finished at the identical positions like this year with Japan beating DPR Korea 1-0 in 2011 when the competition was played under round-robin league format.

“It was really difficult match against the Koreans but our players showed their spirit and did not give up until the end,” Japanese coach Asako Takakura said after the match.

“As we are playing in the World Cup next year, we have to improve a lot and today’s match was an opportunity for my team to get much needed experience against a strong opponent.

“It’s a time to start focusing on the World Cup and I am sure we will do our best to get good results in the World Cup,” she added.

DPR Korea coach Ri Song-ho did not hide his frustration of bowing out in the penalty shootouts.

“It is very disappointing to lose the final in which you dominate but let the opponent bite you on crucial moment,” Ri said.

“We were very good from the beginning but made mistake and had to pay for it by conceding that unexpected goal.

“We did have more chances to kill off the match after we scored an equaliser in the 71st minute but again we failed to take those.

“Our preparation for the next year’s World Cup begins from tomorrow and we will work to ensure that we will not be making the same mistakes like today in Costa Rica next year,” he said. —- AFC

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