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Sunday, August 08, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Asian Cup final precedes violence

By The Associated Press

Chinese paramilitary riot police push back a crowd of protesting soccer fans after yesterday's Asian Cup loss to Japan in Beijing.
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BEIJING — Japan won its second straight Asian Cup, beating China 3-1 yesterday in a tense final overshadowed by Chinese nationalistic passions and anti-Japanese violence.

Koji Nakata put Japan ahead 2-1 in the 65th minute and Keiji Tamada sealed the outcome with a goal during injury time against a much-improved Chinese team in the continent's most important soccer championship.

"From beginning to end Japan showed maturity, quality and experience, and was well prepared," said Zico, Japan's Brazilian-born coach.

China's Dutch coach, Ari Haan, accused Kuwaiti referee Saad Al Fadhli of making wrong calls on all three Japanese goals. Haan boycotted the awards ceremony.

"I'm feeling very disappointed and feel sorry for the beautiful fans of China to lose a game one should not lose," Haan said.

With Japanese players and fans harassed at previous games, thousands of police, including riot troops in body armor and shotgun-toting special tactical units, stood guard outside Workers' Stadium in Beijing. This rivalry has given vent to anti-Japanese sentiments over Japan's World War II invasion that are stoked by confrontational reports in Chinese state media.

After the game, crowds chanting anti-Japanese insults broke bottles and exchanged kicks and punches with police outside the stadium. At least three men were seen being taken away by officers.

An Associated Press photographer was beaten on the head with a baton by a plainclothes policeman, opening a gash that needed eight stitches. A photographer from Agence France Presse was also beaten by police but was not seriously injured.

Japan opened the scoring in the 23rd minute on Takashi Fukunishi's close-range header. China's Li Ming tied it in the 31st minute.

Both Japan and China appealed for calm before the game after Chinese fans booed Japan's team in previous appearances and pelted fans with garbage. The Japanese Embassy cautioned Japanese in China not to wear their blue national-team jerseys or carry banners with provocative slogans to the final. Several hundred Japan fans — many displaying Chinese as well as Japanese flags — sat in a separate section guarded by scores of police.

Major League Soccer

Crew 2, at Revolution 2

Columbus (6-5-7) extended its unbeaten streak to six games by playing to a draw with New England (4-8-7).

The Revolution's Pat Noonan headed in a cross from Jose Cancela during first-half injury time to close out scoring.

At Burn 1, Rapids 0

Eddie Johnson scored on a penalty kick in second-half injury time to lift Dallas (7-7-5) over Colorado (6-6-8).

At Quakes 2, D.C. United 0

Brian Mullan scored in the 17th minute and set up Dwayne De Rosario's 82nd-minute goal as San Jose (6-6-6) blanked D.C. United (5-8-6).

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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