Women’s team ends tournament with third consecutive loss

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Women’s team ends tournament with third consecutive loss

South Korea’s women’s national football team wrapped up a regional tournament with a 3-1 loss against China on Friday.

South Korea surrendered two goals to China before halftime and suffered their third straight defeat at the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship in Japan.

The Taeguk Ladies completed the four-nation tournament without a victory. They fell 3-2 to Japan on Dec. 8 and were pipped 1-0 by North Korea on Dec. 11.

This is the first time since 2008 that South Korea finished last at the tournament. South Korea, coached by Yoon Duk-yeo, were looking for their first regional title since 2005.

North Korea were crowned champions of the E-1 Football Championship after they blanked Japan 2-0 later in the day. North Korea, winning the regional title three consecutive times, finished the tournament with a perfect record of three wins, scoring five and conceding none.

At Soga Sports Park in Chiba, Japan, South Korea’s Lee Min-a took the first shot of the match just 40 seconds after the kickoff, though her long-range attempt went wide. China then started to take control, testing the South Korean defense with skillful attackers.

China, led by Icelandic coach Sigurdur Ragnar Eyjolfsson, first punished the South Koreans in the 17th minute when Wang Shanshan scored with a back heel volley off Xu Yanlu’s cross. Three minutes later, Zhang Rui’s left-footed strike went slightly over the net.

South Korea fought back with a couple of shots from distance with Cho So-hyun’s free kick in the 28th and Choe Yu-ri’s right-foot strike in the 32nd, with both attempts missing the net.

China doubled their lead in the 35th after Zhang’s shot took a deflection off Kim Do-yeon and sailed over goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi into the net.

Trying to find their way onto the scoreboard, South Korea made two substitutions to start the second half. Veteran forward Jung Seol-bin and midfielder Kang Yu-mi came on for Choe and Yoo Young-a.

South Korea nearly gave up a goal to Xu to start the second half, but turned the tide in the 48th when Jang Chang tapped Lee Min-a’s early cross down in the box, only to be denied by Chinese goalkeeper Zhao Lina.

South Korea then kept their opponents busy by sending a string of crosses into the box, although they failed to put a shot on target. In the 63rd, Jang unleashed a left-footed strike that flew over the net.

China’s Wang Shanshan could have quashed South Korea’s rally in the 68th, but her goal was disallowed as Tang Jiali committed a foul before her strike. In the 73rd, Chinese midfielder Li Ying’s left-footed effort was tipped away by Kim Jung-mi.

South Korea made their last substitution in the 76th, replacing Jang for Lee So-dam.

Yoon’s side finally found a breakthrough in the 84th. Kang’s volley off Han Chae-rin’s cross was blocked by Chinese defenders, but her second attempt with the right foot beat Zhao.

South Korea, however, failed to get an equalizer. Instead, they went down by two again in the 90th with Ren Guixin’s goal. Goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi left the box for clearance, but the ball went straight to Ren, who converted the gift-wrapped chance from long range.

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