The Japanese U23 team overcame Australia U19s to become the 2013 AFF Women's Champions in the final held in Yangon, Myanmar on Sunday evening.
Both teams were deadlocked 1-1 at the end of regulation time and it took a nervy penalty shootout to determine the winner, and it was Miho Harada who emerged as hero, saving Natasha Wheeler's effort to make it 5-3 for Japan.
Australia had drawn first blood in the match with Natalie Tobin scoring in the 21st minute after controlling much of the game. Japan then drew level minutes into the second-half after Captain Koko Kaga found the back of the net with a fortunate deflection.
Japan then went in search of the winning goal but saw chances being wasted and the match was sent into extra-time, where neither team was again unable to break the deadlock.
Georgia Yeoman, Sarah Carroll and Melissa Caceres all converted for Australia in the penalty shootout before Wheeler's miss. Miyuki Takahashi, Koko Kaga, Mariko Tanaka, Asuka Mitsuhashi and Imai Haruka were the scorers for Japan.
“It was a tough match but the penalties, could have gone either way,” said Japanese coach Hiroyuki Horino to Aseanfootball.org. “It has been a very good tournament for us and we have certainly learnt a lot.”
Vietnam secured third placing in the competition after defeating hosts Myanmar 3-1. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh and Tran Thi Kim Hong were on target in the first-half for Vietnam before Minh Nguyet added a third in the 66th minute. Myanmar captain San San Maw grabbed the consolation in the 24th minute.