Women’s Asian Cup: Korea ease past determined Vietnam (ld)

Navi Mumbai, Jan 21 (IANS) Four-time semi-finalist South Korea got off to a good start in AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, beating Vietnam 3-0 in a Group C match here on Friday.

Ji So-yun broke the deadlock in the fourth minute before an own goal by Tran Thi Phuong Thao doubled the Koreans’ lead. Ji So-yun, the Chelsea midfielder, capped the night for South Korea with a penalty kick in the second half at the DY Patil Stadium here.

Korea made their intentions clear from the start, as they came close to scoring as early as the third minute when Choe Yu-ri beat the offside trap, only to see her effort bounce off the left post. Son Hwa-yeon slotted home the rebound, only for it to be ruled offside.

It didn’t matter though as Korea were rewarded a minute later when Choe brilliantly intercepted a pass before sending it into the area to find Ji So-yun, and the captain let loose a superb strike for the lead.

Choe was the playmaker once again in the seventh minute as she curled in a cross intended for Son, but a defensive mistake saw Vietnam defender Tran Thi Phuong Thao head the ball into the back of her own net.

Colin Bell’s Korea were relentless as they barraged Vietnam’s keeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh with strike after strike, but the Southeast Asians were able to slow down the pace of the game as they began to find their footing.

Vietnam, who had spent most of the match in their own half, found an opportunity in the 38th minute through a free-kick, but while Chuong Thi Kieu was able to pick out Pham Hai Yen from the sea of players, the forward failed to keep her header down.

Korea, who finished third in the Asian Cup in 2003, continued to dominate possession after the break, while Vietnam displayed a more aggressive side to hold the Koreans at bay.

Korea should have scored their third goal in the 74th minute when Cho So-hyun crossed into the box for a surging Choe who was denied by Vietnam’s Tran from close-range.

Vietnam had defended resolutely in the second half but Chuong was penalised for a handball in the 79th minute, and skipper Ji made no mistake and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0.

Korea will take on Myanmar on Monday, while Vietnam face defending champions Japan in the day’s later match.

–IANS

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