The second game of Group C of the AFC Uzbekistan Under-20 Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers was played on Monday 12 local time at the Laos National Stadium, where the U-19 national team of Japan took on the Laos U-19 national team.
The match, which was the first game for Japan and the second game for Laos, was played in difficult conditions with heavy rain falling before the start and the pitch flooded. The start of the match was delayed by 30 minutes.
This is an important first match for the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held next year and the AFC U20 Asian Cup qualifying final. Japan’s starting roster includes Ryoya Kimura (Nihon University) as GK, Shinya Nakano (Sagan Tosu), Hayato Tanaka (Kashiwa Reysol), Shuta Kikuchi (V-Varen Nagasaki) as DF. Hayakaze Matsuda (Mito Hollyhock) enters. Riku Yamane (Yokohama F・Marinos) and Kodai Sano (Fagiano Okayama) are in the center of the midfield, Sota Kitano (Cerezo Osaka), Takatora Naganaga (Kawasaki Frontale) and Taishin Yamazaki (Kawasaki Frontale) are in the second row. University), and SAKAMOTO Kazusai (Gamba Osaka) entered the front row.
Due to the weather, both sides had simpler developments early on, and it was a back and forth attack and defense. Most of the 9,225 spectators were cheering for the home team from Laos, and as Sakamoto recalled, “it was really a complete away game”, it was a tough game with a unique atmosphere where enthusiastic cheers erupted. were sent to each paddy field. However, as coach Togashi Goichi recalled, ‘The players responded calmly.
The first lasted 21 minutes. Nagacho, who had moved to the left flank midway through the game, received the ball from a change of sides and dribbled past to break the deadlock. It was Sakamoto who received a first cross that swelled on the other side. “Nagacho’s cross, which the defender couldn’t come back to, was really great, so I just had to hit it,” said his header, which shook the net and gave away the first goal in Japan.
After that, there were difficult situations like Laos set plays, but Japan defenders and goalkeepers reacted well. Conversely, in the 44th minute, midfielder Yamane scored another header from a Nagacho cross. Japan’s pace didn’t change in the second half, with Kitano scoring extra goals in the 63rd minute and striker Kumatoriya Issei (Meiji University), who had just entered the pitch as a substitute, in the 69th minute -0 and widening the gap.
In the end, the game ended like this. Coach Togashi reflected on the fact that it was not an easy game, saying, “It was a game that really raised the level of Asia. They gave it to me,” he said. he proudly declared of the efforts of the players.
Japan’s next game will be against the Guam U-19 national team on Wednesday the 14th.
Directed by Goichi Togashi
A lot of things happened before the match even started, and there was also the issue of the weather. In the meantime, everyone on site worked hard to prepare the pitch and decided to delay the start of the match by 30 minutes. If he hadn’t been in this state, I don’t think it would have been football, so I’m really grateful. We expect to win one by one in all four matches, so we will focus on winning against our next opponent, Guam, rather than Palestine or Yemen.
DF #4 Shuta Kikuchi (V-Varen Nagasaki)
First of all, I started the match with an emphasis on safety. I knew that if I dropped the ball, I would be defeated, so I thought I would cooperate with Tanaka, Nakano, and Matsuda to defend against him. I also avoided the back pass today (due to puddles). The atmosphere of the place was the same and everything I experienced was something I could never experience in Japan.
MF #6 Riku Yamane (Yokohama F・Marinos)
Including what we can do in this kind of situation, we were all aware that instead of feeling negative about (external factors such as heavy rain), we should try to be positive. In terms of the match, Sakamoto scored the first goal, and I think that was an important factor. The second goal was a form of play that I had never had before. Given the conditions on the grass, I had the image of scoring a goal with a cross from the flank.
Forward #11 Issai Sakamoto (Gamba Osaka)
The atmosphere was different from the J.League, and of course the terrain was also different, so at first I was a little upset. However, I think I was able to play calmly throughout the match, gradually getting used to the atmosphere of being on the outside. I entered the match with the intention of scoring the first goal, so I’m happy to have scored. I think I was able to change the course of the game a bit by turning my first chance into a goal.
AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023 Qualifying
Conference period: September 10, 2022 (Sat) to September 18, 2022 (Sun)
Click here for tournament information
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