Japan U23 national team secured third place after defeating Australia U23 national team 3-0 in the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 3rd Place Match at Pakhtakor Stadium, Tashkent.
Both teams came into the playoff having suffered disappointing defeats in the semi-finals but Japan started the brighter as they dominated the early proceedings with Shunsuke Mito having the first sight on goal in the fifth minute but fired his strike into the side netting.
The Australian defense had to be on their toes to fend off the early pressure, but a failed clearance by Courney-Perkins two minutes later saw Sato pounce on the loose ball, before letting loose a crackling shot from just inside the box that deflected off the inside of the crossbar before settling into the back of the net.
Stung by the goal, the Olyroos began pushing Japan back with Ramy Najjarine forcing goalkeeper Zion Suzuki into making his first save in the 17th minute.
The end-to-end action continued with Kuryu Matsuki testing goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic – who was making his tournament debut – in the 20th minute before Australia’s Bernardo Oliveira threatened two minutes later but put too much power in his chipped effort.
Japan should have gone two up in the 23rd minute when Matsuki’s pass found an unmanned Mito at the edge of the box, but the Australians breathed a sigh of relief as the Albirex Niigata midfielder saw his effort rebound off the crossbar.
Japan’s persistence, however, saw them finally double their lead in the 40th minute when Yamamoto curled in a corner kick over a sea of players with the unfortunate Kai Trewin turning the ball into his own net.
Australia looked determined to mount a fight back in the second half, with substitute Lewis Miller heading just wide in the 52nd minute, before Najjarine collected Jordan Bos’ perfectly weighted through ball five minutes later but Suzuki was on hand to deny him.
Australia, however, were let down by poor defending again in the 63rd minute when Matsuki picked out an unmarked Fujio in the area, with the substitute making no mistake with his close range effort.
Australia continued trying but the Japanese defence stood firm to take home the bronze medals.
Credit Photo : AFC