It was the reigning champion against the rookie, when Norcal PDP met Tokyo Verdy in the G17 final of Gothia Trophy. The underdogs managed to win by controlling the game from start to finish.
American Norcal PDP entered today’s Gothia Trophy final as champions, beating Swedish IF Limhamn/Bunkeflo with 3-0 last year.
Tokyo Verdy on the other hand, is the first Japanese girls team to ever enter the tournament. And they did it with ease, only conceding one goal on their road to the final.
Tokyo was the ones opening the game, scoring through Kokona Iwasaki already in the third minute. The team played calm and collected, looking for weaknesses and waiting to see what the opponents would do. And when the openings didn’t come, they passed it back to the defense and started anew.
The next goal for Tokyo came eigth minutes later after Aemu Oyama found Kokona Iwasaki with a beautiful long cross – she cooly passed it to Yuzuki Yamamoto, who had two defenders too beat. And even with several defenders around her, she was as calm as the rest of the team and took her time to place 2-0 in.
Moments later, Tokyo executed another exemplary attack when team captain Shino Matsuda found Kokona Iwasaki, but the finish wasn’t good enough to beat Norcal’s keeper.
An injury on keeper Ayano Kurosawa forced Tokyo to an early substitution, when Nina Noda took her place in goal. Norcal had a hard time finding any openings, and Noda was barely tested.
Second half was more open, giving Norcal some chances at last. But the Tokyo team played intelligently in both defensive and attack, winning the ball and trying for the counter attack with cross balls from the midfield to the attackers. Often, the Norcal defense escaped the danger just in the last second through strong saves from Alexa Madueno.
With ten minutes left, Norcal became the second team of the tournament to score on Tokyo – after overloading the Japanese defensive with players, Madison Ayson broke loose and scored. But the equalizer didn’t come as Tokyo finally beat Alexa Madueno, who played like a panther in goal, although it took many tries.
Team captain Shino Matsuda was almost too happy to comment on the victory:
– It’s been so fun to be here and play. I’m so so happy to win, it’s hard to describe the feelings in english, says Shino Matsuda the captain of Tokyo Verde.
NORCAL PREMIER PDP – TOKYO VERDE 1–3 (0–2)
0–1 Kokona Iwasaki, 0–2 Yuzuki Yamamoto, 1–2 Madison Ayson, 1–3 Yuzuki Yamamoto
MVP: Yuzuki Yamamoto
REFEREE: Marit Skurdal, Norway
TOKYO VERDE’S ROAD TO VICTORY
AIK FF (SWE) 7–0 W
FC Nordsjælland (DEN) 8–0 W
Kristianstads DFF (SWE) 1–0 W
FC Rosengård (SWE) 2–1 W
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) 1–0 W