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Tuesday Roundup: Australia and Japan to meet in Asian Cup Final

Also in today’s roundup, Chelsea to round out International Champions Cup field, and the Millwall Lionesses are in trouble.

 

Both Australia and Japan won their 2018 Asian Cup semi-finals today, against Thailand and China PR respectively. All teams in the semi-final have already qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, but it will be the Matildas vs the Nadeshiko battling for the top spot in Asia. Here’s how those games broke down:

Australia 2 (3), Thailand 2 (1): Australia struck first in the 17th minute, when a corner kick from from Emily Gielnick was mis-cleared by Kanjanaporn Saengkoon into her own net, but Thailand was quick with the equalizer in the 20th, exposing Australia’s high defensive line as Kanjana Sung-Ngoen chipped the ball through Mackenzie Arnold’s hands.

The deadlock would hold through halftime, and the match wouldn’t see another goal until the 63rd minute, when Arnold mistimed a clearance to Alanna Kennedy which was pounced upon by Rattikan Thongsombut, who put Thailand up 2-1. It looked like the upset was imminent, but a second yellow to Wilaiporn Boothduang, and subsequent ejection, in the 87th minute gave Australia the boost it needed, and it was Kennedy who found the equalizer in a stoppage time header.

The match would ultimately go to penalty kicks, and Arnold came up big with two saves, allowing Sam Kerr to bury the winning penalty and send Australia to the final.

China PR 1, Japan 3: The second match of the day didn’t carry the same dramatics as the first, as Japan handily took China PR down in regulation behind a brace from Kumi Yokoyama. The action was back-to-back, but the scoring didn’t start until the 39th minute, when Mana Iwabuchi dribbled to the top corner of the box, and fired a shot that slipped through the China defense, putting Japan up 1-0.

That score would hold til halftime and beyond, with the second goal forecasting a frenetic ending to the match, coming in the 85th minute. Yokoyama sent a rocket in from outside the China box, doubling the Japanese lead. She’d add her second just three minutes later when a handball in the box gave Japan the opportunity to go up 3-0, and Yokoyama didn’t miss. China would pull one back in the 90th minute courtesy of their own penalty, taken by Li Ying, after a foul in the Japan box, but the match would end with the Nadeshiko the victors, 3-1.

Chelsea announced as fourth ICC team

Earlier today, it was announced that Chelsea would be the previously-unannounced fourth club team to participate in the new women’s International Champions Cup, joining PSG, Manchester City, and the North Carolina Courage. The tournament will consist of two doubleheaders, semi-finals on July 27th and a third-place game and final on the 29th in Miami, Florida.

As reported by the New York Times, the matches are part of an effort by Relevent Sports, which created the I.C.C. in 2013, to expand its soccer business but also to fill the void of top-flight intercontinental women’s competitions.

“There’s a big battle going on right now for this territory, for this content,”Relevent’s executive chairman, Charlie Stillitano said. “We think the women’s game would benefit from something like this. And we really hope this is something that helps.”

Millwall Lionesses reveal financial trouble

WSL2 side Millwall Lionesses have stated today that they are in dire financial straights, and will possibly have to go into administration barring a renewal of monetary support from fans or other members of the community. The Lionesses are currently unbeaten in their 2018 campaign, and are reaching out publically in an attempt to avoid having to stop operations all together.

They added a justgiving link to their initial post, should anyone like to donate, and as of this publishing had raised almost half of the £10,000 asked for to keep themselves afloat.

 

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