Football: After a Year of Postponements, China Defeats South Korea in Extra Time to Qualify to Women’s Tournament

After more than a year since the first quota was decided, the second Asian women’s football team was determined as the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament finally concluded. China and South Korea played a two-legged playoff to determine which team qualified a spot to compete at the Olympics. The first leg was played in Goyang, South Korea on April 8th, 2021 while the second leg was played in Suzhou, China on April 13th, 2021.

Both teams entered the tournament in the third round where they competed in two groups in a round robin tournament. South Korea was part of Group A where they topped the group thanks to 7-0 and 3-0 victories over Myanmar and Vietnam respectively. China played in Group B where after 6-1 and 5-0 wins over Thailand and Chinese Taipei respectively, the nation drew 1-1 with Australia and due to a worse goal differential, finished second in the group.

In the first match, China was the first to strike where a 33rd minute goal by Zhang Xin gave her nation the lead. It would not last too long as South Korea’s Kang Chae-rim equalized in the 39th minute. The deciding play came down to a penalty kick as Wang Shuang slotted the go-ahead goal to win the first leg 2-1.

Needing a victory in the second game, South Korea came on the attack and were able to take a 2-0 lead by the end of the first half thanks to Kang and Choe Yu-ri. Wang was able to score in the 69th minute and by the 90th minute South Korea won the game 2-1, but the play-off was tied 3-3 on aggregate thus forcing the game to go to extra time. Wang again was the hero as she scored in the 104th minute to give China the 4-3 win on aggregate.

China is a mainstay in the women’s tournament where they have appeared in all, but one Olympic tournament since the women’s event was added in 1996. China currently has one medal, a silver won in 1996.

Qualified Nations

Women’s Tournament
* China

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