Japan beat South Korea to win U-23 Championship

Japan beat South Korea to win U-23 Championship

The Japan U-23 national team are champions of Asia after a stunning 3-2 comeback over South Korea in the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship final.

Goals by Chang-Hoon Kwon and Sun-Wook Jin gave South Korea a 2-0 lead after 47 minutes, with Japan facing a seemingly impossible deficit in the rematch of the 2012 London Olympic bronze medal final.

But striker Takuma Asano changed the pace of the match after coming on at the hour mark, much as he did many times in 2015 at his club Sanfrecce Hiroshima. 

He cut the deficit in half in the 67th minute through a fine assist from Fagiano Okayama midfielder Shinya Yajima, who headed in a cross from Kashima Antlers defender Naomichi Ueda just one minute later.

With the clock ticking down in the 82nd minute, Asano scored again after confounding defenders in the penalty area to beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one showdown.

FC Tokyo midfielder Shoya Nakajima, who provided the game-winning assist, was named the MVP of the tournament.

Japan, South Korea, and third-place winners Iraq will represent Asia in the 2016 Rio Olympics.