Sports

Japan cruise past Kyrgyz Republic to finish with perfect record

June 15, 2021
A first-half hat-trick from Ado Onaiwu helped Group F winners Japan advance to the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a perfect record after a 5-1 win over Kygyrz Republic on Tuesday at Panasonic Stadium Suita. — Courtesy photo
A first-half hat-trick from Ado Onaiwu helped Group F winners Japan advance to the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a perfect record after a 5-1 win over Kygyrz Republic on Tuesday at Panasonic Stadium Suita. — Courtesy photo

OSAKA — A first-half hat-trick from Ado Onaiwu helped Group F winners Japan advance to the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a perfect record after a 5-1 win over Kygyrz Republic on Tuesday at Panasonic Stadium Suita.

With Tajikistan defeating bottom side Myanmar 4-0 in the group’s other tie to leapfrog their regional rivals into second, Kyrgyz Republic finished in third in the standings, with Mongolia taking the fourth spot.

Onaiwu had already had several chances to open the scoring in the tie’s opening 20 minutes, but he eventually broke the deadlock from the spot three minutes shy of the half-hour mark, coolly dispatching a spot-kick after Aizar Akmatov was penalized in the area.

The Yokohama F. Marinos man then made it 2-0 to the Samurai Blue, forcing in at the back post after an incisive run and low ball in from Hayao Kawambe, before Onaiwu completed his six-minute treble on 33 minutes as he headed home from Ryoya Ogawa’s curling cross in from the left.

But on the stroke of half-time, the visitors did temporarily reduce the deficit as Gulzhigit Alykulov twisted and turned inside the area and was brought down, allowing captain Mirlan Murzaev to step up and thunder a powerful penalty kick past Eiji Kawashima.

Japan continued on the front foot after the restart and substitute Kyogo Furuhashi steered a shot narrowly wide shortly after the hour mark before Kawabe called Pavel Matiash into a smart save from a corner shortly after.

The custodian did even better with an effort on goal that deflected off Aleksandr Mischenko, finger-tipping the shot over, but any satisfaction from the save was short-lived as from the resulting corner Sho Saksaki rose highest to head into the far corner of the goal in the 72nd minute.

And Takuma Asano ensured Hajime Moriyasu's side could sign off a five-star performance in style with 12 minutes remaining, finishing confidently past Matiash to complete a swift Japan counter-attack after he was set through on goal to make the final score 5-1. — Agencies


June 15, 2021
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