Japan U23 national team advanced to the Quarter-Finals after a win over Tajikistan 3-0 AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 group stage, Group D at Bunyodkor Stadium, Tashkent.
Go Oiwa’s side, however, went into the tie at the Bunyodkor Stadium second behind Saudi Arabia on goal difference and their aggressive start indicated they were on a mission to score as many goals as possible.
After several half chances, Japan opened the scoring in the 11th minute as Kuryu Matsuki finished Seiya Baba’s corner with an exquisite left footed shot that gave Tajikistan goalkeeper Ahliddin Habibulloev no chance.
Buoyed by their early goal, Japan pressed harder but despite their pressure, the East Asian side struggled to breach the stout Tajikistan defence.
A VAR decision overturned an initial penalty awarded in the 32nd minute and Japan’s frustration grew even more after Matsuki hit the left post from the spot 12 minutes later following an infringement by Emomali Ahmadkhon.
Japan maintained their stranglehold when the match resumed and found their second goal following an error by the Tajikistan goalkeeper, whose casual attempt at a clearance was pounced on by an alert Kein Sato who slotted home gleefully.
Japan, however, were reduced to 10 men when Shunsuke Mito was shown the red card for a bad challenge on Daler Yodgorov in the 62nd minute.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, substitute Taika Nakashima scored Japan’s third in added time time as they cast their sights on Sunday’s showdown with defending champions Korea Republic.
Credit Photo : AFC