China PR stay perfect, Vietnam fall again
Foshan: China PR narrowly defeated AFC Women’s Asian Cup rivals Thailand to move within touching distance of winning the competition, while Vietnam were beaten by Colombia on the second Matchday of the CFA Four Nations tournament on Sunday.
CHINA PR 2 (Wang Shanshan 30’, Ren Guixin 49’ pen)
THAILAND 1 (Kanjana Sung-Ngoen 21’)
A Wang Shanshan header and a Ren Guixin penalty helped Siggi Eyjolfsson’s side overcome the concession of an early goal to stretch their international winning streak to three matches with a 2-1 win against Thailand.
The hard-fought win means the Steel Roses will retain their Four Nations title simply by avoiding defeat against Colombia in the final match of the tournament on Tuesday evening.
In a precursor to the opening match of April’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Amman, Thailand – who had never beaten China at senior level – took a surprise lead in the 21st minute, when Kanjana Sung-Ngeon popped up to score her second goal in as many matches in Foshan.
Latching onto Waraporn Boonsing’s long kick, Kanjana punished a defensive error by Chinese captain Ma Jun by delightfully lobbing the ball over 19-year-old goalkeeper Peng Shimeng and into the net.
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Nuengrutai Srahtongvian’s team’s lead would last less than 10 minutes, however, as Wang Shanshan equalised with a looping header at the half-hour mark to get her name on the scoresheet for the third consecutive international match.
Shortly after half-time, a mistimed Natthakarn Chingwong tackle brought substitute Li Ying crashing down inside the penalty area, giving referee Yu Hong little choice to point to the spot.
Ren Guixin stepped up to slam home what proved to be a decisive penalty kick, and confirm a second win in three days, and a third in succession for the Steel Roses, who appear to have shaken off the poor run of form shown in the latter months of 2017.
COLOMBIA 2 (Gonzalez 18’, Usme 36’)
In the late match, 2017 SEA Games champions Vietnam suffered their second consecutive defeat, as Colombia kept their Four Nations hopes alive with two first half goals.
With captain and star goalkeeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh suspended following her red card against China on Friday, the odds were stacked against Mai Duc Chung’s side, and they fell behind after 18 minutes thanks to a goal from 2016 Copa Libertadores Femenina top scorer Manuela Gonzalez.
A second goal – scored this time by Catalina Usme - put the game firmly under the control of the World No 24 ranked Colombians, and consigned the Southeast Asians to the bottom of the table after two matches.
Vietnam will play for third place against regional rivals Thailand on Tuesday, while Colombia will face China PR knowing a win will see them lift the trophy at their first attempt.
Photos: Football Association of Thailand