AFC Women's Champs finals, games reports

AFC Women
Courtesy: The AFC.com

Thailand edge Vietnam in shootout to finish third

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bangkok: Thailand recovered from the disappointment of a semi-final defeat to claim third place at the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 with a 3-2 penalty shootout victory over Vietnam after a scoreless draw on Saturday.

Thailand goalkeeper Pannipa Kamolrat was the eventual hero, saving Nguyen Thi Hue’s effort in the shootout, before Hataichanok Tappakun sealed victory with the decisive spot kick.

The result means Thailand retains the top three finishing position they achieved in the 2015 edition of the tournament in Malaysia.

In an opening period of few clear chances, Thailand largely controlled possession, but it took until the eighth minute for golden boot hopeful Sasicha Phothiwong to test goalkeeper Ngo Nguyen Thuy Linh.

Jenjira Bubpha dispossessed Bui Thi Trang to force the shot-stopper into another save four minutes later, but the hosts came the closest to breaking the first half deadlock when Bien Thi Hang intervened to clear the ball with Sasicha seemingly destined to steer the ball into the gaping net.

After a scoreless opening period, the breakthrough nearly came just 11 seconds after half-time, but Jenjira missed after being put through on goal by Sasicha.

Vietnam responded by creating a wonderful chance for Trinh Nguyen Thanh Hang five minutes later only for Pannipa to produce an important one-on-one save before her teammates arrive to help scramble the ball clear.

The hosts began to produce regular chances, and when Pacharaporn Srimuan and Jenjira both squandered 28th minute opportunities it appeared a matter of when, and not if Thailand would score.

Hataichanok Tappakun forced another save from Ngo with eight minutes remaining, but Vietnam regained a measure of control, and Le Thi Thuy Linh’s thunderous 35th minute effort, while flying wide, served a reminder of their counter-attacking threat.

Thailand’s Pacharaporn was heavily involved in the action with two minutes remaining. She was booked for hauling down Bien, then nearly scored when Vietnam turned the ball over from the resulting set piece, with another Ngo save keeping her out.

Another Vietnamese counter-attack nearly decided the match with just over a minute to go, but Trinh Nguyen Thanh Hang couldn’t reach the ball after she rounded Pannipa.

It was Pannipa who again stepped up to become the match winner in the penalty shootout, producing an excellent save to block Vietnam’s first penalty before Darika, Jenjira and Hataichanok all powered home their spot kicks to secure a parting gift to the home fans.

Udom Taveesuk:Thailand Head Coach

“Today you can see our players are very tired and their bodies could not reach the same level after our very hard game against Japan and the games before. Last night we asked for an extra physio and more staff to help the players recover. Thank you to the players for producing that effort despite how tired they were and being able to get third place, but our target was to be the champions, so I’d like to say sorry to our fans. Over the whole tournament, I can’t say I’m happy about the result. After success at the SEA Games and Asian Indoor Games wins last year, I targeted the best for Thailand. We will learn from this and train to make our players better in the future. I must also improve tactically and teach the players to understand more. We can reach our targets if we do this. We will start a women’s futsal league in July, so hopefully that will help us develop and find more talent.”

Truong Quoc Tran: Vietnam Head Coach

“We knew that to play against the host nation would be very difficult but we showed a perfect game and I sympathise with our players even though we lost. Before this competition our target was for our players to get experience and have a good tournament. I will keep this squad for future tournaments. Our second set are all our young players and they have done really well here. Our goalkeeper, Ngo Nguyen Thuy Linh, has also done really well and this is her first time playing in such a tournament.”

Courtesy: The AFC.com

IR Iran champions again

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bangkok: Islamic Republic of Iran confirmed their status as the queens of Asian futsal, producing a dazzling five-goal second half to retain the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship with a 5-2 win over Japan.

A hat-trick to Sara Shirbeigi and further goals from veteran Fahimeh Zarei and an own goal by Misato Komura sealed a outstanding victory for Sharhzad Mozafar’s side, who also won the inaugural title in Malaysia three years ago.

Japan had the better of goalless first half but failed to capitalise, before Iran produced a blistering scoring burst, that included three goals in two second-half minutes, to take the game away from Kenichiro Kogure’s side.

Masami Kato had two shots in the first six minutes, before Mika Eguchi forced Iranian goalkeeper Farzaneh Tavasoli into an excellent save six minutes later, and volleyed over the crossbar after tricking her way into space not long after.

The player who had arguably done the most to get Japan to the final, four-time player of the match Anna Amishiro, hit the side netting in the 18th minute before Tavasoli made another fine save to deny Komura a minute later.

Despite spending extended periods under pressure, Iran looked as though they might take a half-time lead when Sara Shirbeigi ran right through the Japanese in the dying seconds, only for Eguchi’s last-ditch defending to snuff out the chance.

It took less than 30 seconds for Ryo Egawa to force Tavasoli into another save, and less than two minutes for Shirbeigi to blast her effort over the crossbar as the battle intensified at the start of the second half.

Fahimeh Zarei looked certain to put Iran in front in the 24th minute, but failed to make contact with the ball with the goal at her mercy, then watched as Seyedehnastaran Moghimidarzi’s follow-up flew harmlessly over the crossbar.

Iran’s breakthrough came in the 27th minute when a lighting fast counter-attack drew Ayaka Yamamoto out of position, before Moghimidarzi rounded the Japanese goalkeeper and kept her cool to find Shirbeigi whose one-touch finish made it 1-0 from close range.

Having scored the winning goal in the final three years ago, Fareshteh Karimi made her mark on the 2018 final when she played a crucial role in a Komura own goal which doubled the lead at the half-hour mark.

That signalled the start of an Iranian goal-rush as Karimi set up Shirbeigi to make it 3-0 just seconds later, and three became four when Shirbeigi completed a magnificent hat-trick by scoring another in the following minute.

The goal also brought Shirbeigi level with teammate Fatemeh Etedadi as the tournament’s top scorer with nine.

Japan head coach Kenichiro Kogure called a time-out before deploying a power play formation, which paid immediate dividends when Eguchi finally got a reward for her constant goal threat to make it 4-1.

Not content with her goals, Shirbeigi turned provider to set up Zarei for one of the goals of the tournament when she masterfully flicked the ball past Yamamoto in the 36th minute.

Amishiro scored her ninth goal of the tournament in the final minute to create a three-way tie in the race for the tournament’s top scorer, but it had little bearing on the final outcome as Iran celebrated a wonderful win.

Posted by Luca Ranocchiari --> luca.ranocchiari@futsalplanet.com


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