Japan ease past China to set up Australia final

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Japan booked their place in the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup final on Tuesday after recording a 3-1 win over China at the King Abdullah II Stadium.

Mana Iwabuchi got the Nadeshiko on their way with her 39th-minute opener, as she skipped inside Li Danyang after showing off some neat skills before firing away a left-footed drive that was too hot for Peng Shimeng to handle.

However, it was not until five minutes from time that they really secured their position, as Kumi Yokoyama found space on the edge of the box and sent a looping effort beyond Peng’s reach.

Yokoyama struck again three minutes later when she converted from the penalty spot after Wang Shanshan was penalised for handball, effectively securing her side’s progress from the last four.

The Chinese did win a penalty of their own moments later when Wang was tripped by Yokoyama inside the area, paving the way for Li Ying to reduce the deficit in the 90th minute as she sent Sakiko Ikeda the wrong way.

However, it proved to be a mere consolation as Japan went on to claim a well-deserved victory to set up a repeat of 2014 final, which saw them beat the Matildas 1-0 to claim their first title.