JINAN, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) — China beat Thailand 2-0 in a must-win game to keep hope of advancing, while world champions Japan edged Australia 1-0 to top the table at the Asian Qualifying Tournament for the 2012 London Olympics women’s soccer event here on Monday.
China now sits at the third place with 5 points after three games, 4 points behind leaders Japan with 9 points after three stragiht wins, and 2 behind DPR Korea. China must win the next two games to secure a ticket for the London Olympics.
"I felt uncomfortable during the past three games, but at least we are still alive," said Chinese coach Li Xiaopeng.
"We still have the chance to walk out of the swamp, no matter what kind of process it would like to be. Luckily there are no red cards and match bans. We can have all the players ready for the next game."
Striker You Jia opened the scoring in the 40th minute with a funny goal from Thailand keeper’s error. You caught the wrong-taken goak kick before dashing into the box to fire a low shot to beat a helpless kamolrat Pannipa. It’s the hosts’ first goal in the tournament.
Substitute forward Xu Yuan sealed victory with a header following a corner on 80 minutes.
China will play Australia on Sept. 8, both teams have to fight for three points to have a top two finish. Thailand is eliminated after three defeats.
In the other two games played earlier, Japan beat Australia 1-0 by Kawasumi Nahomi’s second half strike, while DPR Korea defeated South Korea 3-2.
If the Nadeshikos defeats DPR Korea in the next game, they will book a seat at the London Games. Australia ranks the third with three points.
Striker Nahomi scored the winner in the 62nd minute with a low shot after receiving a pass and dribbling past a defender in the box. Nahomi missed two clear one-on-one chances in the first half, but finally made it.
Japan controlled the game with their neat passes and smart moves, while the Matildas had to rely on the counter-attacks. Japn created much more chances than their rivals with their trademark wall passes at the edge of the box.
In the clash between the Korean neighbours, S. Korea went ahead only 5 minutes into the game with Lee Hyun Young’s strik in a melee. But DPR Korea rallied and quickly netted three goals in the next 51 minutes.
Ra Un Sim, Choe Mi Gyong and Hwang Song Mi were the scoring heroins for DPR Korea. S. Korea narrowed the gap in the 61st minute on a mistake by their rivals.
DPR Korea can qualify if they beat Japan in the next game, while the South Koreans were denied the chances of qualifying with merely 1 piont from three games.