Printer Friendly and PDF

Ashgabat: Thailand shocked defending champions Japan 3-1 in a dramatic final at the Ashgabat 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games women's futsal gold medal match on Monday.

Thailand, who had won two silver and two bronze medals in previous editions of the Games, fired first in the 14th minute through Jiraprapa Nimrattanasing.

Both teams were unbeaten at Ashgabat 2017 and were evenly matched, but Japan stayed goalles at haftime.

After the break, Masanori Ito’s side answered back with a 35th minute goal from Akari Takao to level the score.

But Darika Peanpailun had other ideas as she shocked Japan a minute later with a goal to give Thailand a 2-1 lead (below).

Jenjira Bubpha put the tie to bed a minute before the final whistle to give Thailand their first gold in the tournament.

For Japan, their gold medal streak at the Games came to an end.

"I said before the tournament began we were the gold-diggers and now we have found gold. Finally we did it and it's an unbelievable feeling. It's indescribable. It's been a long wait, too long, but now it is worth it," said Thailand team manager Krisda Sajakul.

"We knew that a moment of recklessness could spoil it. But when Japan equalised we knew we could come back. We believed in our plans."

Japan coach Masanori Ito said: "We didn't have enough time to prepare for this match against Thailand. We should have done a lot of things to prepare the match – a lot."

Meanwhile, Islamic Republic of Iran made amends for their semi-final loss to Japan as they beat China PR 5-1 to claim the bronze.

Sara Shirbeigi and Fereshteh Karimi combined to give the 2013 runners-up a 3-1 lead in the first half as they outplayed their opponents to score two more after the break.

Karimi scored the opener – her fourth goal of the Games – in the third minute while Sara Shirbeigi added a brace in the fourth and 10th for a 3-0 lead.

China PR however, got on the scoresheet a minute later though defender Dong Jiabao’s effort.

Nasimeh Sadat Gholami almost made it four for IR Iran but her effort was denied by the crossbar in the 25th.

After the break, Karimi scored her second in the 21st and Shirbeigi completed her hat-trick with an effort 10 minutes later as Shahrzad Mozafar’s side won 5-1.

"I am happy but I wanted to be more happy and win the silver or gold. But bronze is still valuable. It is still important. It is better than nothing," said IR Iran coach Shahrzad Mozafar.

"After losing in the semi-finals, we had time to talk to the players and inspire them so they could overcome their disappointment."

On her future as Iran coach, Mozafar admits changes are needed to improve the squad.

"I hope to stay on as coach for the AFC Championship next year. But the average age of this team is close to 28 so we need to make it younger and bring in new players."


Final: Japan 1-3 Thailand
3rd-4th: IR Iran 5-1 China PR