AFC Asian Cup: China makes stunning revival to beat S. Korea, wins 9th title

China came back from a 0-2 deficit to defeat South Korea in the Women's Asian Cup final to lift the title for a record-extending ninth time.

Published : Feb 06, 2022 18:27 IST , NAVI MUMBAI

Chinese players celebrate scoring a goal in the final against South Korea.
Chinese players celebrate scoring a goal in the final against South Korea.

Chinese players celebrate scoring a goal in the final against South Korea.

China PR scripted a remarkable comeback after being two goals down at halftime to beat the Korea Republic 3-2 in the final of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.

This is the Steel Roses’ record-extending ninth WAC title and their first since 2006. China’s triumph is doubly special for head coach Shui Qingxia, a five-time winner of this tournament as a player, who becomes the first former player to win this title as a coach.

China pressed the Korean defence early with Wang Shuang – returning to the side after missing the semifinal– leading the charge, eager to put some pressure on the first-time finalist. This strategy worked perfectly as the girls in red controlled possession.

Korea tried to counter the stronghold by playing the ball long but China’s physicality helped them make timely interceptions and even attempt some shots at goal to frustrate the Koreans.


Despite the early momentum, it was the Chinese who conceded first in the 27th minute. Choe Yuri was set up perfectly with a clean cross from Lee Geummin. Neither was marked adequately by any line of defence and the Koreans took advantage to take the lead. This was Yuri’s first goal of the tournament and this edition’s 100th strike.

The goal was a shot in the arm for the Koreans who seemed a little more put together in their passes from thereon. In the 29th minute, the Koreans got another chance on a free-kick. Ji So-Yun took the shot and tried to curl it to Son Hwayeon but the goalkeeper Zhu Yu got her hands to it and Son ended up hugging the netting.

Korea doubled its lead at 45+2' minutes when Ji converted from the spot after her side won a handball appeal when a Chinese defender unintentionally handled the ball in the box.

China lost a bit of steam from there on with the momentum vehemently swinging in Korea’s favour. The Steel Roses came into the second half with a few changes in personnel but were unable to rattle the Korean defence. The side seemed to be favouring corners and relying on set pieces to try and make its way back into the game.

And make a comeback China did, when it was also awarded a penalty for a handball appeal in the 68th minute. Tang Jiali made no mistake as she slotted this through Kim Jung Mi’s fingertips., leaving the keeper beating the turf in frustration.

China soon levelled scores in the 72nd minute when the Korean defence was caught napping. Jiali once again got hold of the ball and could not be dispossessed. She sent in a lifted cross for substitute Zhang Linyan who headed it to the back of the net, with Shui roaring in the dugout.


Korea didn’t seem to have enough gas in the tank mentally, with five minutes of injury time to play through.

In the 90th minute, Ji got to work sending in a cross to the far post to Son whose curved kick found the keeper’s palm. The ball ricocheted Geummin who found another defender. In hindsight, this save by Zhu Yu saved China the match.

The now nine-time champion put the game to bed in the 93rd minute when Jiali supplied Xiao Yuyi, another substitute, who kept her cool to bury the ball in the far corner.

While Sam Kerr’s seven-goal haul in the tournament remained unbeaten getting her the top goalscorer award, China’s Zhu Yu and Wang Shanshan were adjudged best goalkeeper and most valuable player of the tournament respectively.

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