China go down to Japan, finish sixth in Algarve Cup
Faro (Portugal), March 14 : China finished sixth at the 2013 Algarve Women's Football Cup after a 0-1 defeat against Japan.
Unmarked Yuki Ogimi scored with a powerful shot from far post in a lop-sided second half, when China failed to keep in shape in midfield and made defensive errors at the edge of area here Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
Japan took the fifth place with one win and two defeats in group stage.
China, the two-time winners of the Cup, suffered their second defeat here after being outscored 5-0 by the United States in the second group match.
They earned an opening 1-1 draw with Sweden and rallied to beat Iceland 1-0 in the last match but failed to keep a same level in 90 minutes against a more skillful side today.
Starting with a 4-2-3-1 formation, China created more open chances in the first half. Ma Xiaoxu, the 2006 Women Footballer of the Year in Asia, dashed into the area after a strategy corner- kick sent her free. But the central forward's low shot was blocked.
The best chance for China came eight minutes later. The offensive midfielder Zhang Rui found space in the area but struck the ball wide past the post.
"If we take these good chances, the process and results will be different," said Hao Wei, China's head coach.
"It's not the physical problem after the restart. We lack in experiences and that's the problem."
Japan gained the momentum in the last 45 minutes. After Yuki's goal, the Japanese nearly added their second and third with three shots in a space of three minutes since 80th. China's keeper Wang Fei blocked two and saw one blast wide.
"In the first half, China showed good attitudes, stamina and quality of position. It was not a good start but finally we got a good result," said Japan's head coach Norio Sasaki.
"We are good rivals. Our players today show they can get good results and keep developing." he added. This Japanese squad in Algarve only had two players who had played in London Olympic Final. One is Yuki and the other is their captain Saki Kumagai.
Algarve Cup, the annually global invitational tournament since 1994, is one of the most famous women's football events. Twelve teams, which were divided into three groups, took part in the 2013 tournament.