S. Korea rout Mongolia 12-0 in Women’s Asian Cup qualifier

SEOUL-- South Korea pounded Mongolia 12-0 on Friday to open the qualifying tournament for Asia's top women's football competition, behind a record-breaking performance by their captain.

Midfielder Ji So-yun scored her 59th international goal to become South Korea's all-time leading scorer, male or female, in the convincing victory at Pakhtakor Stadium in Tashkent. This was the first of two Group E matches for South Korea in the qualifying event for the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup.

South Korea, ranked 18th in the world, thoroughly overwhelmed the 125th-ranked Mongolia in their first-ever encounter. The Taeguk Ladies will next play No. 43 Uzbekistan on Thursday, back at Pakhtakor Stadium. The kickoff is 4 p.m. in Tashkent or 8 p.m. in Seoul.

Only the winner of this group will get to play at the Women's Asian Cup, which will also serve as the regional qualifying tournament for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Playing in her 126th international match, Ji scored South Korea's fifth goal in the 35th minute to break a tie with former male striker Cha Bum-keun.

It was one of seven goals by South Korea in the first half. Choo Hyo-joo opened the scoring five minutes into the match, and Cho So-hyun doubled the lead in the 24th.

The rout was on, as Choo got her second goal of the day just before halftime while Lee Min-a and Lee Geum-min also found the back of the net.

Colin Bell's team didn't let up. Substitute Moon Mi-ra scored a hat trick in the second half, the third goal rounding out the scoring in the 89th minute.

Twenty-eight teams were divided into eight groups in the qualifying event, but Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea have withdrawn.

Source: Yonhap News Agency