In a rematch of the tournament’s opening match, Australia lost 1-0 to Japan in the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup final Sunday morning. Portland Thorns FC defender Stephanie Catley, appearing in her first Asian Cup championship match, played the full 90 minutes of the final. Catley will now look to join up with her Thorns FC teammates later this spring.
With the result, Japan wins its first ever Women’s Asian Cup, claiming the title from the defending champions.
After being paired together in Group A, Japan and Australia faced off for the second time in the tournament. As the first meeting ended in a 2-2 draw, the stakes were poised for a deciding match.
The Nadeshiko took the lead just before the half-hour mark. A corner kick was played back out and crossed to the far-post where defender Iwashimizu Azusa was able to squeeze a header in off the crossbar from a narrow angle for the lone goal in the 28th minute. Japan kept Australia from scoring for the first time all tournament.
Japan has previously finished second four times in the tournament’s history and finished third five times, including consecutive third place finishes in the last two tournaments. Japan now holds two international titles, adding the Asian Cup to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.