Skilful Counterattacking Splits Open Team in the Final Phase of the Game. DPR Korea beats Japan 4-2.
The first women's and men's teams to score in the tournament were those of the DPR Korea. In the 22nd minute, a penalty kick awarded to Ra Un Sim and taken by Kim Un Ju was stopped by goalkeeper Yamane, who also played in the Women's FIFA World Cup Canada 2015. However, in the 36th minute, a free kick was taken by Yun Song Mi from the left hand side of the pitch, with Ri Ye Gyong meeting the ball and scoring. For Japan, left-side midfielder Kawamura and left-side Sugita worked together, creating a number of chances.
Toward the end of the first half manager Sasaki decided to adopt a 4-2-4-2 formation. Left side-back Takara moved to left midfield, and number ten Kamionobe was placed in left side-back, with Sugita filling in the role of defensive midfielder. In the second half left midfielder Takara’s position on the pitch was changed once again, as was the right side-back, allowing Japan to form a rhythm of attack.
In the 4th minute of the second half a corner kick gave Masuya the chance to tie the game with a goal on the nearside. However, the DPR Korea, who had substituted Kim Su Gyong into the game to play on the right side, now repeatedly launched counterattacks – a forte of theirs – and a pass from Ra Un Sim from the right saw Ri Ye Gyong send the ball to the back of the net, giving her team the lead. Five minutes later Sugita picked up a cleared ball for Japan, which resulted in an eye-opening mid-range goal and the second tie for the side. Continuous sharp counterattacks by the DPR Korea, however, saw Ra Un Sim exert her individual talents for two back-to-back goals in the 34th and 37th minutes.
Now manager Sasaki substituted trump card Takase into the match. However, a defiant DPR Korea, insistent on maintaining its lead, won the first game of the tournament with a score of 4-2.