Nadeshiko hand Sasaki parting victory

Kyodo

Nadeshiko Japan handed manager Norio Sasaki a likely farewell gift with a 1-0 victory over North Korea as the women’s Asian Olympic qualifying drew to a close on Wednesday.

Mana Iwabuchi came off the bench to tap in an 80th-minute winner for the hosts, who finished third in the group on seven points from five games behind winners Australia (13) and China (11), the two qualifiers for Rio de Janeiro.

Australia and China fought to a 1-1 draw.

Japan failed to qualify for what would have been its fourth successive Olympics on Monday after China defeated South Korea 1-0, and Sasaki is expected to take the fall.

“It’s my responsibility, and I hope the fans will continue to support a new Nadeshiko team,” Sasaki said.

In the lone afternoon kickoff, South Korea earned its first win of the competition after beating last-place Vietnam 4-0.