Iran and China too good in Incheon
Date: October 24, 2014
Medal placings were finalised on the final day of goalball competition at the 2014 Incheon Asia Para Games. Top honours went to Iran and China who showed the competition that they were undoubtedly the strongest teams there.
China versus Iran on the women’s side was the first match for the day. Both of these teams were until that moment undefeated and the winner of the women’s tournament would be also the winner of this match. China got the first goal in less than a minute after the match begun. A bounce ball from center made it over the Iranian left winger and from this point on the pressure was on Iran. Three minutes later and China scored again, this time off a 10 second penalty (Iran had the ball down their half of the court for too long). With four minutes to go, Salahizadeh for Iran did score with a clean shot between the Chinese centre and right winger. The second half only featured one goal with a minute to go. Zhang scored her second goal for the match with a powerful shot off the left winger’s feet. Both teams also had another chance to score with the ball just going wide of the post. This confirmed China as the title winners and continuing the stranglehold over other Asian nations when competing in Asia.
The Japanese women also cemented themselves as the bronze medalists with their final match against Thailand. Japan won this 6-1 after a match that was full of defensive errors.
Next we turned to the men’s bronze medal match. This turned out to be the match of the day. The two competing teams were Japan and Korea. The latter team coming from their disappointing loss against China in the semi-finals. Within three minutes the Japanese were already up 2-0 with two goals scored by Ito in the identical way, between the Korean center and left winger. Japan had then the chance to extend their lead from a high ball penalty but they missed the goal. Korea was almost immediately after this given the chance to score off a long ball penalty and they did not squander their chance, 2-1. Less than a minute later Korea score cleanly and it is 2-2 and game on. At this point it seemed that the momentum was now with the Koreans. Another long ball penalty and Korea now have the lead for the first time in the match. Korea soon scored again two more times; one between the center and left winger and the other off a high ball penalty and it is suddenly 5-2. With two minutes to go in the half, Japan scored again with a ball that was deflected by the center player into the goal.
The second half started quite steadily and the first goal was not scored until the fourth minute. Korea went up 6-3 following a high ball penalty. Suddenly the Japanese took it up a gear and scored two goals within 30 seconds. One deflected once again off the center player into the goal and the other clean between the Korean center and left winger. It took another five minutes before Japan could equalize following a defensive mistake from the Korean right winger. Both teams tried hard to make that final goal but it was Japan who succeeded in a great come back when they scored with a minute to go between the Korean center and right winger.
The gold medal match was Iran back to their best. Iran took this 10-0 with less than half a minute to go in the second half. The first half was quite close and at the break Iran was only leading 3-0. China also had two chances to score in the first half but they could not succeed in capitalizing on a long ball penalty and the Iranians were able to stop another ball just in time before it crossed the line. It took four minutes into the second half before Iran could score again but after this it was all Iran. Too many high ball penalties let the Chinese down and Iran showed why they remain the top nation of the Asia region.
Iran 3 0 1 25 8 9 17 6
China 4 0 0 24 3 12 21 17
Japan 2 0 2 9 7 6 2 0
Korea 1 0 3 6 18 3 -12 -5
Thailand 0 0 4 4 32 0 -18 -18
Gold China, Silver Iran, Bronze Japan
Gold Iran, Silver China, Bronze Japan