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Wednesday, 6th August 2008
In Sports,

Japan women footballers claim draw in Olympic opener

The Japanese women's football team fought back from a two-goal deficit to claim a 2-2 draw with their New Zealand counterparts in their Olympic opener.

New Zealand almost made history by bringing an end to their record of no victories in major international competitions, reports Xinhua.

Japanese defender Azusa Iwashimizu was yellow carded in the 56th minute, almost conceding a penalty to New Zealand who were already 1-0 to the good.

Amber Hearn extended New Zealand's score to 2-0 shortly after, though 16 minutes later Japan was awarded a penalty which was converted by Aya Miyama.

Homare Sawa, captain of the Japanese side, took advantage of a free kick in the 41st minute, sending the ball into the back of the net and capping off a valiant fightback.

At a press conference before the game, Japanese head coach Erikmo Arakawa commented: "We may be small in size, but you should never underestimate our players."

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