Japan hammered Vietnam 3-0 in the second round of Group C games of the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Monday. Yui Narumiya scored two goals on the night to lead Japan to their second victory in the tournament.
Vietnam, unlike in their previous game against South Korea, started the first half with a solid defensive shape and stopped Japan from creating any clear-cut chances. However, as the half rolled on, Japan recovered their usual swagger and dominated possession.
In the 24th minute, the Nadeshiko Japan came very close to scoring when a corner missed everyone in the Vietnamese box and fell kindly for Yui Narumiya. However, the midfielder scuffed her shot and failed to keep it on target.
A few minutes later, Japan had another opportunity when Mina Tanaka got on the end of a through ball. However, the Bayer Leverkusen forward's shot was saved by Vietnamese shot-stopper Kim Thanh Trần Thị.
Vietnam couldn't keep up their resilient showing any longer. In the 37th minute, Jun Endo drilled in a cross from the left flank and the goalkeeper failed to parry the effort to a safety zone. Yui Narumiya ghosted in from the right flank and tapped home the rebound into an open net.
Mina Tanaka had an opportunity to double the lead later in the half but she hit the side netting from a tight angle. Japan went into the break with a one-goal lead.
Coming out after the break, Japan upped the ante with the one-goal advantage in their favor. Mina Tanaka yet again looked like the liveliest Japanese attacking outlet as she got on the end of a Hikaru Naomoto cross but her effort was saved.
In the 50th minute, Japan were rewarded for their efforts. From a free-kick deep on the left flank, Jun Endo headed the ball towards the Vietnam goal but Kim Thanh pulled off a brilliant save. The rebound, though, fell kindly for Japan centre-back Saki Kumagai, who tapped it home for Japan's second of the game.
Before Vietnam could string together a reply, Japan struck again eight minutes later. Yui Narumiya scored her second of the night and third of the tournament as she deftly got on the end of a deflected free-kick from the left.
With a three-goal lead in the bag, Japan masterfully controlled the tempo and played Vietnam out of the game. The intensity fizzed out as both sides waited for the final whistle to blow.
Japan now go top of Group C and have booked a berth in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, after two back-to-back losses, Vietnam are in third place, just above Myanmar on goal difference.