Final Match, played on Monday 24th of December:
INAC Kobe Leonessa 1 - 0 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
INAC Kobe claimed their second title of the season, and their third Empress' Cup in a row, but they had to fight all the way with a JEF United side determined to show their worth. In their previous encounters INAC had rather easily dealt with the challenge of the JEF United players, with perhaps only Hosokawa Motoyo showing much in the way of physical combativeness. However in this game the underdogs surprised INAC, and everyone watching in how they tackled, harried and hassled their illustrious opponents, closing them down and forcing them into hurried passes and mistakes.
JEF United had several good chances to score themselves but were unable to keep their heads in front of goal, and in the dying moments Tanaka Asuna popped up to score a goal celebrated extremely enthusiastically by the INAC players, who for once had to be at the very top of their game to come away with a result.
The JEF players were very disappointed, but they showed themselves and other teams exactly how the champions can be beaten, and they can build for next season with renewed hope.
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Tanaka Asuna, Kai Junko, Minamiyama Chiaki, Rebecca Moros, Ji So-Yun, Sawa Homare, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Kawasumi Nahomi, Takase Megumi, Beverly Goebel-Yanez
Subs: Nakajima Emi (Ohno Shinobu, 62 mins)
Unused subs: Takenaka Rei, Takara Ryoko, Tanaka Yoko, Kyokawa Mai
Scorers: Tanaka Asuna (90+2 mins)
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Funada Mayu, Sakuramoto Naoko, Takahashi Sachie, Hosokawa Motoyo, Kawamura Mariko, Ikadai Risa, Hosaka Nodoka, Yanai Rina, Fukasawa Risa, Ogawa Shiho, Shimizu Yuka (capt)
Subs: Kawamura Noriko (Shimizu Yuka, 68 mins)
Unused subs: Yamane Erina, Tezuka Saori, Chino Shoko, Yamamoto Naomi