South Korea started their AFC Women's Asian Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over Vietnam on Friday at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. Chelsea midfielder Ji So-yun scored a double for her side, including a late penalty. The win puts South Korea second in Group C, behind Japan on goal difference.
South Korea started the first half on the front foot and drew first blood within four minutes. Winger Choe Yuri darted down the right flank and cut back the ball to the middle. Geum Min Lee sold the Vietnamese defenders a dummy and skipper Ji So-yun stabbed home the ball with the inside of her boot.
Even with the early lead, South Korea didn't let their foot off the gas. Three minutes later they doubled their lead but through an own goal.
Choe Yuri yet again found the ball out wide and turned her marker inside out to deliver a sharp cross into the box. Trần Thị Phương Thảo failed to properly deal with the ball and head it into her own net.
Up by two goals, Korea dominated possession and controlled the tempo of the game. The Taegeuk Ladies enjoyed almost 74 percent of the possession in the half.
Showcasing their dominance, even the South Korean centre-backs Seon Joo Lim and Youngju Lee could be seen orchestrating play in the opposition half. They had over 12 goal attempts in just the first half while the Vietnam team went into the break without a single shot at goal.
Choe Yuri emerging as South Korea's brightest attacking outlet against Vietnam
Coming out after the break, South Korea continued their hunt for a third goal. Although they dominated possession, the Taegeuk Ladies lacked the killer punch in the early phases of the game.
Choe Yuri continued to be South Korea's most lively attacking outlet as she kept troubling the Vietnamese backline. Near the 75-minute mark, the 27-year-old had a string of chances but failed to capitalize on them.
The first one came after she won the ball in the Vietnam box. Yuri set herself up for a snap-shot but goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh was up to the task. Minutes later, Yuri was yet again set up inside the D-box but Kim Thanh pulled off yet another brilliant save from point-blank range.
South Korea kept knocking at the door. Forward Hwa Yeon Son's header from a corner clipped the post and went wide. However, in the 79th minute, the referee blew the whistle for a handball from Thi Kieu Chuong and awarded the Korean team a penalty.
Amid visible dissent from the Vietnam bench, Ji So-yun stepped up to take the penalty. The 30-year-old calmly placed the ball to the goalkeeper's left and put South Korea ahead 3-0.
Vietnam ended the goal without a single goal-bound attempt. However, South Korea would've preferred to have created far more chances going forward.
Meanwhile, in the other Group C match of the day, Japan trounced Myanmar 5-0. After the first round of games, Japan are on top while South Korea claimed second place in the group.