Japan and Korea Republic will do battle for the 2017 EAFF E-1 Football Championship this weekend after beat China and DPR Korea respectively on Tuesday.
Korea Republic were first to be in action at the Ajinomoto Stadium and claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over DPR Korea.
Following a goalless first half, the breakthrough arrived four minutes after the hour mark when Ri Yong-chol – in an attempt to intercept Kim Min-woo’s left-wing cross – only succeeded in diverting the ball into the back of his own net.
[FT]대한민국?? 1-0 ??북한
대한민국 승리를 위해, 응원해주신 모든 팬분께 감사의 말씀드립니다.
— 대한축구협회(KFA) (@theKFA) December 12, 2017
Following their earlier draw with China, Tuesday’s victory leaves Korea Republic second on the table with four points and they are now the only side with a chance of pipping Japan to the title.
Japan maintained their 100 per cent record in the tournament by leaving it late to beat China 2-1.
It took the Samurai Blue 84 minutes to break the deadlock when Yu Kobayashi scored on the rebound from an acute angle, after his initial effort had been saved by Wang Dalei.
— Oliver Trenchard (@OliverTrenchard) December 12, 2017
Four minutes later, Genta Miura made it 2-0 with a stunning effort as he received possession from all of 40 yards and unleashed a spectacular swerving strike that had Wang beaten all ends up.
China did reduce the deficit in injury-time when Yu Dabao converted from the spot although it proved to be a mere consolation, as Japan went on to claim the win that keeps them top of the table.