Japan beats Philippines at Asian Women's Soccer Championships

Japan outclassed the host Philippines, 6-0, on Sunday to top Group C and advance to the semifinals of the 12th Asian Women's Football Championship at the Iloilo Stadium of Iloilo City, Philippines.

The Japanese pounced on their foes from the start and never gave the Pinay booters a chance to settle down, using all the weapons in their arsenal to roar to their fourth straight victory in the group.

Playing minus the intensity that marked its first two games, the Philippine side took its second straight setback in three outings.

Uzbekistan nosed out Thailand, 1-0, in the other match in Barotac Nuevo for its second win in three games.

Japan joined defending champion China, which crushed Hong Kong, China, 12-0, on Saturday to take first place in Group B, in the crossover semifinals to be held in Bacolod on November 19.

Unlike their first two matches, the Philippines were sluggish and looked like wooden figures as they completely allowed their rivals to dominate the game.

Mito Isaka broke through the Philippine defense in the 10th minute to volley in the first goal from 20 feet from the right wing and added another marker six minutes later almost from the same spot off a ball deflection to put Japan ahead 2-0.

Just about the only active players for the home squad were Fil- Am sweeper Karem Esteva and goalie Llevelyn Llorente who had their work cut out for them as they struggled to foil Japan's repeated forays.

Veteran forwards Josephine Lloren and Sheila Barlovento were hardly a factor in the first half as they virtually stood still and seldom challenged the Japanese defense.

Starting where it left off, Japan jumped the gun with Yasuyo Yamagishi scoring on a booming 30-yarder with just 45 seconds onto the second half.

Teammate Mai Aizawa then added the fourth marker on a breakaway, going one-on-one with Llorente to slot the ball in from the right flank in the 52nd.

This was followed by Ayumi Hara's 63rd minute strike as she slipped past three Philippine defenders and Llorente, who strayed a bit too far from the net, to ram in the ball from point blank.

The only clear Philippine try came courtesy of Barlovento in the 67th after the ball glanced off Japanese Goalie Nozomi Yamago, but her shot from 40 feet sailed way over the crossbar.

Isaka scored Japan's last goal on a follow-up during a goal scramble in the 71st to complete a hat-trick.

In the match between Uzbekistan and Thailand, striker Nargiza Abdurasulova knocked in the winning marker for Uzbekistan in the 84th minute. (Xinhua)

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