Penalty moves China closer to Games spot

Sports | REUTERS 9 Apr 2021

A second-half penalty by Wang Shuang gave China a 2-1 victory over South Korea yesterday in the first leg of their playoff for a place in the women's football tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.

Zhang Xin capitalized on a defensive error to side-foot home from close range and give China, Olympic silver medallists in 1996, the lead after 12 minutes at Goyang Stadium in South Korea.

Kang Chae Rim equalized for the home side six minutes later.

China were awarded a penalty in the 71st minute for a foul by Son Hwa Yeon on Tang Jiali, and Wang's penalty crept past South Korea goalkeeper Kim Jung Mi.

The second leg will be played in Suzhouin on Tuesday.

The women's tournament at the Olympics kicks off on July 21 and will feature 12 teams, led by hosts Japan.

Meanwhile, Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee powered to a second Tokyo Olympic berth by winning the women's 100-meter freestyle at the national championships, less than eight months after she returned to competition following her recovery from leukemia.

Ikee finished in 53.98 seconds, missing the 53.31 seconds she needed to qualify for the individual 100m freestyle but punching her ticket for the 400m relay at the Games.

Her triumph follows her emotional victory on Sunday in the 100m butterfly, which secured her a spot in the Olympic 400m medley relay team.

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