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HOME > National Teams > U-23 2024 > AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ TOP > NEWS > 【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team advance past group stage with two consecutive clean sheets - AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™


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【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team advance past group stage with two consecutive clean sheets - AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™

20 April 2024

【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team advance past group stage with two consecutive clean sheets - AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™

On Friday 19 April, the U-23 Japan National Team played their second group stage match of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ against the U-23 UAE National Team at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.

Japan made seven changes to the team that beat China PR on Tuesday, with KOKUBO Leo Brian (SL Benfica) in goal and a back line of SEKINE Hiroki (Kashiwa Reysol), KIMURA Seiji (Sagan Tosu), SUZUKI Kaito (Jubilo Iwata) and OHATA Ayumu (Urawa Red Diamonds). YAMAMOTO Rihito (Sint-Truidense VV), KAWASAKI Sota (Kyoto Sanga FC) and ARAKI Ryotaro (FC Tokyo) were deployed in midfield, while YAMADA Fuki (Tokyo Verdy) and SATO Kein (SV Werder Bremen) were deployed on the flanks, with FUJIO Shota (FC Machida Zelvia) playing as a central striker.

The match began with Japan taking the initiative from the outset. Kimura's header from a free-kick threatened the opponent’s goal in the eighth minute, while Araki's shot hit the crossbar in the 21st minute.

With the momentum in their favour, Japan broke the deadlock in the 27th minute when Yamada’s corner kick drifted over the head of everybody and found Yamamoto, who delivered an in-swinging cross from the right flank, setting up Kimura for a header that hit the post before finding the back of the net. Reflecting on the goal, Yamamoto said, "I saw the ball drifting towards me, so I adjusted my position to redirect the ball into the mix," while Kimura commented, "I was able to guess where he was going to deliver the ball.”

Despite conceding a big chance to the UAE in the 43rd minute, Japan took a one-goal lead into the break thanks to a spectacular save from Kokubo.

Japan's dominance continued in the second half, with their second goal coming in the 66th minute when Ohata made an overlapping run down the left before delivering a crisp cross for Kawasaki to tap in. Japan created many more chances in the closing stages but were unable to convert as the match ended 2-0. With back-to-back shutout victories, Japan have now booked their place in the knockout stage.

With top spot in the group at stake, Japan will now face Korea Republic on Monday 22 April.

Coach's and Players' Comments

OIWA Go, Head Coach of U-23 Japan National Team
Despite the change in line-up, the players did well to stay on the same page in both attack and defence, which is a positive aspect to build on ahead of our next game against Korea Republic. They also showed great quality in terms of technique and intensity. It is important that we maintain the quality we showed in this game, so I will continue to keep the players focused and motivated.

DF #15 SUZUKI Kaito (Jubilo Iwata)
Including the way we responded to their long-throws, I felt we were able to communicate well in defence. Personally, I came into the game with the intention of getting my frustrations out after being benched in the first game, and it felt like the whole team was motivated for this game. The fact that we were able to communicate and keep our composure to keep a clean sheet was huge for us.

DF #21 OHATA Ayumu (Urawa Red Diamonds)
I felt like my body was not moving very well in the first half, but in the second half it felt lighter, and I think I was able to play to my true potential. I am happy that I got an assist as well. A lot of the players who didn't play in the first game started today, so we were really motivated. I was told beforehand that I was matched-up with a player who has been selected for the UAE senior team, so I was really excited to play against him.

MF #7 YAMAMOTO Rihito (Sint-Truidense VV/Belgium)
The goal came from a loose ball from a set-piece and, knowing how good we are in the air, I had no hesitation in putting the ball in. I had to come off for tactical reasons after we went a man down in the first game, so I wanted to get my frustrations out in this game. I wasn't worried at all about the fact that we rotated seven players and I felt I was able to play with confidence. I am really looking forward to our next game against Korea Republic.

YouTube(AFC):#AFCU23 | Group B : United Arab Emirates 0 - 2 Japan

AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™

Tournament dates: Mon. 15 April - Fri. 3 May 2024

Group stage
1st match: Tue. 16 April, ◯1-0 vs China PR
2nd match: Sat. 20 April, ◯2-0 vs UAE
3rd match: Mon. 22 April, 22:00 vs Korea Republic
*Kick-off time listed in Japan time

Tournament information

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