Japan’s Shoya Nakajima scored a double to make it two-out-of-two wins at the 2016 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Viet Nam yesterday at the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor, Malaysia.
Japan proved their credentials as a candidate for the championships from the start of the Group I second round match, giving Viet Nam no space from the kick-off.
The samurais launched wave after wave of attacks while Viet Nam struggled to protect their goal, and 22-year-old Nakajima opened the score in the 43rd minute.
Nakajima and teammate Takumi Minamino combined to slot the ball past Vietnamese goalie Phi Minh Long.
Huynh Tan Tan of Viet Nam nearly leveled the score just one minute later in a rare opportunity in Masatoshi Kushibiki’s area, but his shot went wide.
After the interval, things looked better for coach Toshiya Miura side as they limited Japan’s attacks.
However, Japan secured victory in added time as Nakajima converted with the Viet Nam asleep.
Hosts Malaysia claimed their first win of the campaign yesterday beating Macau 2-0 at the Shah Alam Stadium.
A goal in each half ensured the Malaysians gained their first win following an opening 2-1 loss at the hands of Viet Nam two days earlier.
Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim scored from the penalty spot in the 12th minute, while Wan Ahmad Amirzafran Wan Nadris made it 2-0 in the 67th.
Japan currently top the group with six points after two wins. They will play Razip Ismail’s Malaysia next, while Viet Nam will take on Macau who are seeking their first win of the campaign tomorrow.
Ten group winners and the five best second-placed teams will join hosts Qatar in the final round, with January’s 16-team competition also serving as Asia’s qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.