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AFC Women’s Asian Cup: China Fight Back to Beat South Korea and Claim Ninth Title

China came from two goals down to defeat Korea Republic 3-2 in a pulsating AFC Women’s Asian Cup final at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.

Korea Republic looked to be cruising to their first crown after taking a 2-0 lead at half-time but China fought back after the break through goals from Tang Jiali, Zhang Linyan and Xiao Yuyi – who netted the winner deep into added time to seal her side a record-extending ninth title.

China entered the final chasing their first title since 2006 against a Korea Republic side who had never laid their hands on the coveted trophy.

China, unbeaten in seven previous meetings with Korea Republic, started the game brightly and had the first look at goal within seconds when Wu Chengshu played the ball to Tang Jiali just above the area, but the midfielder’s effort was easily dealt with by Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi.

China continued to press with Zhang Xin trying from 35 yards out while Wang Shuang saw her effort in the 10th minute saved by Kim.

Korea Republic began to see more of the ball as the half progressed and were rewarded with their first look at goal in the 27th minute, with Lee Geum-min breaking into the box before sending a cross to Choe Yu-Ri to score the 100th goal of the tournament.

With Korea Republic in the ascendancy, China survived a scare at the half-hour mark, goalkeeper Zhou Yu pulling off a point-blank save to deny Lim Seon-Joo’s header off a free-kick.

China, however, suffered more woe in the closing stages of the first half when a VAR review saw Korea Republic awarded a penalty for Yao Lingwei’s handball, with Ji So-yun converting from the spot.

China head coach Shui Qingxia sent on Xiao Yuyi and Zhang Rui at the start of the second half to force their way back into the game but Korea Republic gave them little room to operate in the early stages.

China, however, received a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty for Lee Young-ju’s handball, with Tang Jiali netting from the spot in the 68th minute.

Boosted by the goal, China began to dictate play and drew level four minutes later thanks to some poor defending by Korea Republic.

Goalscorer Tang did well to beat two Korea Republic defenders before sending a delightful cross into the six-yard-box for an unmarked Zhang Linyan to nod home the equaliser.

Korea Republic could have then won it at the death with Zhou Yu pulling off a one handed save before defender Wang Xiaoxue blocked Son Hwa-Yeon’s effort.

Having escaped, China broke Korea Republic’s hearts in added time with Xiao Yuyi stunningly finishing off Wang Shanshan’s pass as a record-extending ninth title was sealed.

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