North Korea were crowned women's soccer champions for the second consecutive Asian Games when they beat Japan 4-2 in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of deadlock at the Qatar Sports Club on Wednesday.
The North's goalkeeper Jon Myong-hui saved Japan's first two attempts while her team mates were perfect with their four spot kicks, substitute Jong Pok-sim cooly slotting home the last for her country's sixth gold of the Games.
North Korea's players celebrate after beating Japan in their women's soccer final at the 15th Asian Games in Doha December 13, 2006. [Reuters]
Japan, who scored 21 goals and conceded only one in their five matches in Doha, were unlucky to be denied a goal in the first period of extra time when a dubious offisde decision ruled out Shinobu Ohno's strike.
Roared on by some 1,000 of their compatriots, the North Koreans had the best of the first period, stepping up the pressure towards the break when Miyuki Yanagita and then Eriko Arakawa were forced to make goalline clearances.
Japan had chances early in the second half and North Korean fullback Om Jong-ram had to clear her lines from an Azusa Iwashimizu shot with keeper Jon eventually gathering the follow-up from Kozue Ando.
On 62 minutes, Song Jong-sun showed superb awareness by letting the ball run through her legs before turning and unleashing a fierce left-foot shot that flashed past the post.
She was outdone in the skill stakes minutes later when the Afro-haired Japanese Arakawa dribbled past two defenders but her pass went behind Homare Sawa and the chance was gone.
The North's Ri Kum-suk nearly broke the deadlock three minutes from time but her header went just wide and two minutes later Kil Son-hui was unable to take advantage of a suicidal charge out of goal by Miho Fukumoto and the match went into extra time.
Earlier, a goal in each half from Wang Kun was enough to win China the bronze medal with a 2-0 victory over South Korea.