Japan U23 national team must go to the final round in the final match back always with Saudi Arabia U23 national team score 0-0 in the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 group stage, Group D at Pakhtakor Stadium, Tashkent.
Japan, however, marginally dominated the early proceedings with Yuito Suzuki almost finding the target in the third minute off Joel Fujita’s cross, while Koki Saito evaded his marker at the edge of the area before blasting his effort above the bar.
Go Oiwa’s side had their first shot on target in the 15th minute when Rihito Yamamoto surged into the six-yard-box before cutting back for an unmarked Fujio, who forced Nawaf Alaqidi into a save.
Saudi Arabia struggled to find space inside Japan’s half with Ayman Yahya attempting a long-range effort in the 22nd minute of a set-piece situation, which was easily thwarted by the Japan defenders.
Japan continued to apply pressure with Fujio forcing Alaqidi into a save at the half-hour mark, connecting beautifully off Hijiri Kato’s cross into the box.
Alaqidi was again called into action moments later, showing incredible reflexes to deny Saito’s long-range effort when he made a one-handed save to keep Saudi Arabia level.
Mohammed Maran almost caught Japan napping at the stroke of half-time when he found an unmarked Yahya, who however, couldn’t control his shot from just above the box.
Japan dominated proceedings in the opening minutes of the second half with Fujita and Saito combining beautifully in the 47th minute, only for the latter to shoot wide from inside the box.
At the other end, Turki Al Ammar almost put Saudi Arabia ahead in the 73rd minute when he found space at the top of the box before firing a curling effort, forcing Japan keeper Zion Suzuki into making a finger-tip save.
Japan, however, suffered a setback in the 79th minute when Fujio received his marching orders after picking up a straight red.
Suzuki then ensured Japan a point when he produced another wonderful one-handed save in the 89th minute, parrying Al Ammar’s drive from outside the box.
After that, nothing another moment ended match two teams tied at 0-0.
Credit Photo : AFC