Soccer-Wang penalty gives China advantage over South Korea in Olympic playoff

April 8 (Reuters) - A second-half penalty by Wang Shuang secured China a 2-1 victory over South Korea on Thursday in the first leg of their playoff for a place in the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.

China, Olympic silver medallists in 1996, took the lead 12 minutes before the end of the first half when Zhang Xin capitalised on a defensive error to side-foot home from close range in the Goyang Stadium in South Korea.

South Korea were back on level terms six minutes later when Kang Chae-rim’s shot looped up over Chinese goalkeeper Peng Shimeng.

China were awarded a penalty in the 71st minute for a foul by Son Hwa-yeon on Tang Jiali, and Wang’s penalty crept past South Korean goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi.

The second leg will be played in Suzhouin in China on April 13.

The women’s tournament at the Olympics kicks off on July 21 and will feature 12 teams, with hosts Japan qualifying automatically. Australia have already booked their place as one of Asia’s two qualifiers with victory in a playoff over Vietnam last year. (Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Timothy Heritage)