Japan won its second straight Asian Cup by beating China, 3-1, yesterday in Beijing 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," said Zico, Japan's Brazilian-born coach.

China's Dutch coach, Ari Haan, accused Kuwaiti referee Saad Fadhli of making wrong calls on all three Japanese goals and 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.

Peter Vellapan, Asia's top soccer official, said Haan showed "great disrespect" to the teams and fans.

"As the national coach of China he should demonstrate a more sporting spirit and be a sporting loser," Vellapan said.

With Japanese players and fans harassed at previous games, thousands of police, including riot troops in black body armor and shotgun-toting special tactical units, stood guard outside Workers' Stadium.

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. Some in the crowd took the man to a hospital by bicycle. 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 with a left-footer from the top of the penalty area.

Nakata's goal came off a corner kick by Shunsuke Nakamura. The ball skipped off Takayuki Suzuki's head and appeared to hit Nakata's hand. In the 89th minute, Japanese goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi made two excellent saves as Chinese attackers swarmed.

Tamada completed the scoring in the first minute of injury time, sending a hard, low shot past goalkeeper Liu Yunfei and silencing the flag-waving crowd of 65,000.

Several hundred Japan fans -- many displaying Chinese as well as Japanese flags -- sat in a separate section in the stadium guarded by scores of police.

The harshest sentiment on show was a banner reading "This time, the Chinese people get to be the bullies" -- another reference to Japan's wartime record.


The Columbus Crew extended its unbeaten streak to six, tying the New England Revolution, 2-2, in Foxboro, Mass.

The Crew held the lead twice, but the Revolution rallied to tie it both times.

Columbus, 2-0-4 in its past six games, took a 1-0 lead when Kyle Martino intercepted a pass and outraced Steve Ralston and Jay Heaps for a breakaway goal, scoring past goalkeeper Matt Reis in the 20th minute.

Ralston tied it at 1 with a penalty kick in the 29th minute after Columbus goalkeeper Jon Busch took down Revolution striker Taylor Twellman in the box.

Columbus regained the lead when Edson Buddle headed in a cross from Simon Elliott in the 45th minute.

Seconds later, during first-half injury time, New England's Pat Noonan headed in a cross from Jose Cancela.

* BURN 1, RAPIDS 0: Eddie Johnson scored on a penalty kick in second-half injury time to give Dallas the win at home.

Chinese policemen stand in front of a soccer fan holding a Chinese national flag near the Beijing hotel where Japan's soccer team stayed.