Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Wuhan: Ri Hae-yon enjoyed a double celebration on Sunday as the DPR Korea forward was named Most Valuable Player at the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship after she scored the only goal of the game to help her side defeat Japan 1-0 in the final.
The 16-year-old was instrumental in helping Hwang Yong-song’s team claim a second continental title to add to that won in 2007, after she also scored a dramatic late winner, her second of the night, in the semi-final against hosts China to secure a 2-1 victory.
And with DPR Korea having lost on penalties to three-time winners Japan in the final two years ago, Ri ensured her side gained sweet revenge by curling a wonderful first half effort into the top right corner 10 minutes before the interval as the East Asians ended a run of three successive runner-up finishes.
“I’m very pleased that our team could win the championship; it’s great for our country and our people,” said Ri, who netted four times in the continental campaign.
“We performed to our expectations today and I scored a very important goal for my team. My parents and all of my family are very pleased for me.”
An ever-present in coach Hwang’s team, Ri opened her tournament account with a first half strike against Chinese Taipei on Matchday one as the East Asians ran out 5-0 winners.
Although not on the scoresheet, the forward maintained her fine form in the 4-0 win over Uzbekistan and draw with Japan as her side qualified for the last four as runners-up in Group B.
And she then put on a match-winning display in the semi-final against China, scoring in the second and 87th minute as DPR Korea progressed to a record-equaling fourth final.
“All my team-mates are happy and we all will enjoy this pleasure together,” added Ri.
“They all congratulated me and each other at the end, and we are so happy with our performance and the result.”
China forward Wang Yanwen, meanwhile, claimed the Top Scorer award after netting an impressive six goals in five games.
Wang scored her side’s third goal in the enthralling 3-3 draw with Korea Republic on Matchday One before notching another in the 4-0 victory over Iran in their second Group A encounter.
A brace against Thailand en route to a 5-0 victory helped ensure the Young Steel Roses advanced to the semi-finals as table-toppers.
And after narrowly losing out 2-1 to eventual winners DPR Korea in the last four, Wang grabbed another double in the 8-0 rout of Thailand in the third place play-off.
The Fair Play award was won by tournament runners-up Japan, who picked up just two bookings in five games.