Japan beat Bahrain in Asian WC qualifier

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:52 IST

A solitary goal from Mitsuo Ogasawara helped Japan beat Bahrain 1-0 in the Asian World Cup qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain on Friday.

Japan beat Bahrain in Asian WC qualifier

Manama:

A solitary goal from Mitsuo Ogasawara helped Japan beat Bahrain 1-0 in the Asian World Cup qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain on Friday. Japan's coach Zico had been under pressure after his team's consecutive losses in the recent international friendlies. However, Japan started the crucial away match with a two-point advantage over their rivals in Group B. After a nervous start, Japan soon settled down to play some attractive football.Clever passingThe visitors took the lead in the 33rd minute, after a clever piece of passing by Shunsuke Nakamura. His deft flick opened up the Bahrain defence and an unmarked Mitsuo Ogasawara rifled home from just outside the box to find the back of the net. Five minutes later, Nakamura's clever run gave Akira Kaji space on the left side. Though the striker got a look in, Kaji pulled the shot wide of the goal. Bahrain were denied any clear opportunities by the stout Japanese defence. However, Talal Yusuf surprised the visitors seconds before the break. Yusuf unleashed a stunning right footer from 25 yards but soon turned back in despair as his shot bounced back into after hitting the side bar. Skillful runSoon after the kick off in the second half, Nakamura made another skillful run into the box with the ball but could only find the side netting with his left footed shot. Bahrain's chances of drawing level were slipping away, particularly with their best striker Mohammad Hubail sitting out with an injury. The hosts however had one last chance in the 83rd minute. A free kick from the right flank beat the Japanese goalkeeper Kawaguchi but defender Yuji Nakazawa made a timely clearance to avert the danger. Japan held on to win 1-0 and took away all three points from the match. With nine points, Japan are now one point behind Group B leaders Iran. Bahrain lie third in the group while North Korea, who lost to Iran in another match, are last. Japan next play North Korea while Bahrain take on Iran in the final round of qualifiers on Wednesday. (AP)



Topics : Football
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