HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam were unable to cause an upset against Japan yesterday, losing 3-0 to the defending champions who proved too much for the Vietnamese youngsters to handle.
Viet Nam will face the losers of the other semi-final between South Korea and North Korea in the bronze medal playoff tomorrow, while Japan will take on the winners to defend the title they claimed four years ago in Guangzhou.
Despite beating Viet Nam 4-0 in their last meeting at the AFC Women's Asian Cup four months ago in HCM City, Japan started the match full of respect for their opponents, who had reached the last four for the first time, and allowed Viet Nam to build a promising start.
This lasted for only ten minutes before Japan began showing why they are the holders of the world, the Asian Cup and the Asian Games titles.
Japan began probing forwards on the left wing to exploit defenders Nguyen Hai Hoa and Bui Thi Nhu rather than facing tall captain Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh and Nguyen Thi Xuyen on the right.
Hoa, Nhu and Trinh did well to keep industrious midfielder Emi Nakajima and defender Saori Ariyoshi at bay, but when Nakijima tried her luck from range, the result was immediate.
Viet Nam goalkeeper Trinh failed to hold on to the ball, allowing it to spill out to Megumi Takase who tapped in from close range to give Japan a deserved lead.
Japan dominated possession for the rest of the first half with only the brilliance of Trinh, who made fine saves to deny Saori Ariyoshi and Rika Masuya, keeping the score unchanged before the break.
Coach Mai Duc Chung made changes in the second half but they made little difference to the game, with Japan comfortably controlling the match throughout.
It was only luck that helped Viet Nam concede just two more goals, again thanks to Trinh's saves and the crossbar.
Osafume eventually doubled the advantage with a header past Trinh in the 52th minute, and Yuika Sugasawa sealed the match with another header on 74 minutes. — VNS