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N. Korea beats China to close out East Asian Cup
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- North Korea defeated China 1-0 Sunday in the women's East Asian Cup match on Sunday, positioning itself for the first title at the regional tournament.

   On the final day of the women's competition at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul, Ri Un-hyang scored 90 seconds into the match and North Korea hung on for the next 90 minutes for its second win of the round-robin event.

   North Korea ended the tournament with seven points, with two wins and a draw. China finished with three points after a win and two losses.

  


Later on Saturday, South Korea is scheduled to face Japan for the final women's match. South Korea has no point after losing to North Korea and China by the identical score of 2-1. Japan is sitting at four points, having beaten China and tied North Korea.

   Japan must beat South Korea to edge out North Korean on the goal difference tiebreaker and claim its third straight East Asian Cup.

   Against China, North Korea wasted little time getting on board. Ri got her head on a corner by Kim Un-ju, and the ball floated over the stunned Chinese goalkeeper, Wang Fei.

   Wang, assuming the ball would sail out of play, helplessly watched the header go into the net instead.

   North Korea maintained control on offense, with China struggling to apply much pressure on its offensive end.

   In the 11th, Ri looked to score her second goal of the match, but her hard volley went right at Wang in the Chinese net. Then in the 26th, Kim Yun-mi stripped defender Zeng Ying of the ball just outside the Chinese box but Wang barely got to the ball first to clear it out of harm's way.

   It was much the same story in the second half, though North Korea's superiority in possession didn't translate into goals.

   After a quiet period, North Korea kicked into another gear in the final stretch. In the 74th, Ra Un-sim tried to redirect a Ri Ye-gyong cross from left wing but Wang made the stop. Two minutes later, Kim Jo-ran unleashed a shot from the top of the arc but it went wide of the left post.

   In the 80th, Kim was at it again, this time rattling the side netting with her left-foot strike.

   North Korean women's football team made its first trip to South Korea since the 2005 East Asian Cup. The North Korean players have had mostly warm reception from South Korean fans during the tournament, despite lingering tension on the divided peninsula.

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)
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