Saudi Arabia, lost for the first time in this tournament. After the invasion to lose to Japan 0-2 in the 2022 World Cup Asian Qualifiers 3rd Round, Group B at Saitama Stadium, Saitama.
The Japanese started with the same line up that defeated China PR on Thursday while the Saudis made one change from the side that downed Oman, bringing in Ali Al Hassan in midfield for Sami Al Najaei.
Knowing a win would take them to the FIFA World Cup, the visitors dominated possession as Moriyasu’s side sat back and absorbed the Saudi pressure throughout the opening 45 minutes
Ito was Japan’s main threat down the right side with his pace and the Genk winger was denied by Mohammed Al Owais after beating Yasir Al Shahrani in the 29th minute, but three minutes later the 28-year-old’s involvement was key for Moriyasu’s team.
Hiroki Sakai’s quickly played ball down the right channel put Ito behind the Saudi defence with time to find Minamino. The Liverpool man sidestepped the defence and although Al Owais put his hands on the shot he was unable to keep the ball out.
The Saudis were cut open again moments after the restart, allowing Minamino to volley wide, but in the 50th minute Ito made no mistake to double Japan’s lead as he fired his right-foot shot from the edge of the area into the top corner of Al Owais’ goal.
Renard’s side rarely threatened in a flat performance, with Saud Abdul Hamid’s deflected effort from distance the only time home goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda was called into action as the Japanese picked up a vital win.
Credit Photo : Koji Watanabe/Getty Images
Source : The-AFC.com