Defending champions China and Iran and Japan and China will face-off for the respective men’s and women’s titles at the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball Asia-Pacific Championships on Tuesday (10 December).
The final match-ups were decided on Monday following the semi-finals.
Current title-holders China took on South Korea for their shot on gold.
A low scoring first-half saw South Korea grab a narrow 2-1 lead at the first whistle thanks to Intae Jeong and Sungwook Hong.
But China would not go down without a fight. They returned in the second-half, opening the scoring just 40 seconds in when Mingyuan Yang levelled things up.
Mingyao Hu then took centre stage, scoring three in a row. South Korea struggled to regain their rhythm before Yang added a further two goals to cement his hat-trick and China’s semi-final place. The final score was 7-2.
Iran faced a tough fight against an ever-improving Japanese side who are determined to challenge for medals when they host next year’s Paralympic Games.
As a result 2017 silver medallists Iran had to dig deep to come back from a 1-0 deficit at half-time. Yamaguchi Ryouga made his mark just before the whistle to give Japan the edge.
The tense atmosphere continued long after the break but was finally pierced by Iran’s Khalil Shahriarnasab at 8:53.
The goal opened the door just enough for Iran who went on to net two goals in quick succession courtesy of Mohammad Soranji Estarki. They managed to hold on for the remaining five minutes for a final score of 3-1.
Iran will take-on China on Tuesday. South Korea and Japan will play for bronze.
In the women’s semi-finals Japan also endured a tough match against Australia but this time had the edge.
The Japanese struggled to find a way past the Australian defence until 3:47 when Hagiwara Norika squeaked the ball over the line.
Into the second-half it took Kakehata Eiko five minutes to find the back of the net again. But Australia kept fighting and two minutes later Meica Jayne Horsburgh got one back.
Both sides kept their defending tight. It was Eiko who found a way through at 2:29 to end the scoring at 3-1.
Chunhua Wang was the heroine for China in their tie against South Korea. Wang bagged three goals to help China gain a 4-0 lead at half-time.
Wang netted a further three goals after the break with Zhenhua Cao also getting in on the action with two of her own.
South Korea did get off the line at 4:39 but the momentum was with the 2017 runners-up and the match ended 9-1. China will compete in their fifth successive Asia-Pacific Championships final and go for their third title on Tuesday.
South Korea and Australia will go for bronze with the Aussies hoping for a repeat performance from 2017.
Full results can be found at https://www.gb-aprc.com/schedule
and live coverage is available at IBSA’s YouTube channel.
As well as the title on offer, the winners of Chiba 2019 will also qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, if they have not already qualified.