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Football: Japan leave it late to win East Asian Cup, China secure second

2013-07-28_EastAsianCup1July 28, 2013: Youchiro Kakitani scored two goals – including a stoppage-time winner – as Japan (pictured) edged hosts Korea Republic 2-1 in the last match of the EAFF East Asian Cup to lift the title in Seoul.


Both sides – missing their Europe-based stars – were in search of win at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium, as a handsome margin win for the hosts could have given them the title in the round-robin competition.


However, after an exciting game dominated by the hosts, Japan emerged as champions with two wins and a draw, which put them two points clear of second-placed China who earlier defeated Australia 4-3 in another exciting encounter.


2013-07-28_EastAsianCup2In the 24th minute, Kakitani (pictured right) took Yuzo Kurihara’s long pass over the top of the Korea defence into his stride and coolly slotted home to give the reigning Asian Cup holders the lead.


Nine minutes later, Korea equalised through a powerful Yun Il-lok right-footer from outside the penalty area. Korea Republic pressed hard for a winner in the second half and players and fans were demoralised when Kakitani scored late on, coolly placing the ball through a crowded goalmouth following a rare counter-attack.


Both sides have qualified for next year’s FIFA World Cup and also the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, as Japan won the 2011 competition while Korea finished third.


China finished their East Asian Cup campaign unbeaten after edging Australia 4-3 in a high scoring thriller.


Yu Dabao opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a cool side-foot finish from outside the area, while Aaron Mooy equalised with a 30-yard rocket in the 30th minute. Sun Ke pounced on a parried save to put China ahead again in the 56th minute.


The rest of the goals were scored in the final minutes as Yang Xu and Wu Lei both ran through the Aussie defence to score in the 87th and 88th minutes respectively to put China 4-1 ahead, but Australia responded bravely with two goals in the death from Adam Taggart and Mitchell Duke.


Australia have also qualified for next year’s World Cup and will host the 2015 Asian Cup, while China are involved in Asian Cup qualifying.


Photos: EAFF

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