Vietnam retain a chance of advancing despite suffering a 0-3 loss against Japan in the second game of Group C at the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 on Monday evening.
Japan, defending the AFC Women's Asian Cup titles won in 2014 and 2018, started with their confidence high following their 5-0 win over Myanmar on Matchday 1 last Friday, when Vietnam was defeated 0-3 by South Korea.
Vietnam only had 26 percent of possession in the first 35 minutes of Monday's game while Japan seized control right from the start.
Had it not been for the excellence of keeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh, Vietnam could have conceded early goals.
Although Vietnam stayed disciplined on defense, Japan exploited the difference in physique, as the three goals that they scored were all from aerial situations.
In the 38th minute, Hana Takahashi crossed it in and keeper Thanh tried to catch the ball but could not do it cleanly, creating a chance for Yui Narumiya to tap it in.
The first half ended 1-0 in favor of the Japanese.
Japan doubled their lead five minutes into the second half as Kumagai was the fastest to react after Tanaka's header saw the ball rebound off the woodwork.
The Japanese women found their third chance eight minutes later with Kumagai redirecting a corner kick into the center of the box for an unmarked Narumiya to slot home.
Vietnam's Pham Hai Yen tried her luck from distance on 75 minutes but goalkeeper Momoko Tanaka easily dealt with the effort.
As the Vietnamese defense stayed focused to avoid losing further in the remainder, the game ended with a 3-0 win for Japan.
|A Vietnamese player tries to block a Japanese opponent at the AFC Women's Asian Cup in India on January 24, 2021. Photo: Asian Football Confederation|
The victory took Japan to six points from two matches and they, together with South Korea — who had defeated Myanmar 2-0 earlier on Monday — are assured a top two finish.
The two East Asian rivals will meet on Thursday to decide the top spot while Vietnam will aim to defeat Myanmar on the same day in order to stand a chance of claiming one of the two best third-placed slots to the knockout stage.
Both Vietnam and Myanmar lost the first two games, but Vietnam are placing above due to conceding fewer goals.
The AFC Women's Asian Cup is a quadrennial competition in women's football for national teams which belong to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), with this year's edition taking place in India from January 20 to February 6.
Vietnam are placed in Group C at this year's championship, alongside Japan, South Korea, and Myanmar.
Group A includes India, China, Chinese Taipei, and Iran while Group B includes Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, and Indonesia.
After the group stage, the top eight squads will qualify for the quarterfinals.
The tourney serves as the final stage of the Asian qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, with the top five teams advancing directly and the next two booking spots in the inter-confederation play-offs.
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