DPRK’s womens team takes gold in Asian Games

Joong Ang Daily
12/15/2006

North Korean women down Japan for gold

North Korea retained the Asian Games women’s soccer title early yesterday with a 4-2 penalty kick shootout win over Japan.

The defending champions, Asia’s highest-ranked team, enjoyed the better chances throughout the match and held their nerve at the end with goalkeeper Jon Myong-hui saving two Japan kicks.

North Korea scored all of its penalty kick chances as Ri Kum-suk, Ri Un-gyong, Ho Sun-hui and Jong Pok-sim all found the net.

Despite the victory North Korean coach Kim Kwang-min said his club should have gotten it done in regulation.

“Although we are similar physically we are better players,” said Kim. “I told them to be aggressive from the start and we should have won in 90 minutes. I am not overly satisfied with the performance.”

The first half of the game saw both teams cancel each other out, but North Korea almost broke through in the first half.

It took a flying save from Japan ese goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto to deny North Korea’s top scorer, Ri Kum-suk, from finding the net with a sharp, downward header.

At the one-hour mark, Song Jong-sun turned smartly and unleashed a fierce left-footed shot which just sailed past Fukumoto’s left hand.

Kim Kyong-haw then teed up Ho Sun Hui, who shot straight at Fukumoto.

Eriko Arakawa then set up Japan’s best chance of the game in the 72nd minute when she turned inside two defenders, drew the goalkeeper out and released the ball into the path of Shinobu Ohno, who was unable to steer the ball home.

Ri Kum-suk then squandered a late chance to settle the tie in normal time, heading just inches wide at the far post.

Fukumoto twice rescued Japan in extra-time, once even having to keep out a misdirected header from teammate Kozue Ando.

Ohno then gave the North Koreans a major scare when she had the ball in the back of the net with a volley finish five minutes from the end of the first period of extra time.

But it was controversially ruled out for offsides and the match went to the penalty shootout.

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