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MD3: Jiangsu Suning defeat Incheon Hyundai to finish second

Yongin: Tabitha Chawinga was at her brilliant best as Jiangsu Suning Ladies FC beat Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels to second place in the inaugural AFC Women’s Club Championship with a 2-0 win on Saturday.

The Red Angels came into the tie one point ahead of the Chinese champions, but an excellent brace from Jiangsu’s Malawian star meant Jocelyn Precheur’s side finished with five points, two behind Japan’s Nippon TV Beleza, who sealed the title earlier in the day.

While Jiangsu’s earlier results in tournament meant they weren’t able to add to the four trophies they won domestically this year, Saturday’s win meant their campaign at the FIFA-AFC Pilot Tournament ended without defeat.

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The danger posed by Chawinga was clear from the very first minute of the match, as the lightning quick striker forced Red Angels goalkeeper Kim Min-jung into an important low save with just 45 seconds on the clock.

The hosts survived on that occasion, but Jiangsu were ahead 10 minutes later after a trademark run and finish from the Malawi ace, who slipped the ball past Kim after being released by an excellent pass from Ma Jun.

The Red Angels carved out their best chance of the first half shortly after, but Li Mengwen arrived in time to safely clear the ball after Brazilian Thais Guedes lifted it over oncoming Jiangsu goalkeeper Peng Shimeng.

Guedes was playing alongside both her compatriot Beatriz and captain Jung Seol-bin for the first time in the competition, but despite the Incheon side’s abundant attacking stocks, Peng was rarely called into action before the first half finished with Jiangsu retaining a 1-0 lead.

The second period began in the same fashion as the first, as Chawinga scored a wonderful solo goal after receiving an initial pass from Elizabeth Addo, persisting despite the attention of several Red Angels defenders before angling the ball across Kim and into the bottom corner in the 50th minute.

With second place slipping away, the Red Angels pushed forward with renewed fervour, and produced their best chance of the match in the 59th minute, only for Kim Dam-bi to blast the ball over the crossbar as the Jiangsu defence watched on helplessly.

Kang Chae-rim was summoned from the bench as the hosts tried to unlock the Jiangsu defence, but the Chinese side had few moments of real concern late in the piece, as Chawinga had the final say in a competition she had memorably scored the first ever goal in four days earlier.

Photos: Korea Football Association

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