News AFC U17 Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023: Japan Enters Quarterfinals
Japan advanced to the AFC U17 Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 quarter-finals after an amazing 8-4 win over India in their final Group D tie at the Rajamangala Stadium on Friday.
The three-time AFC U-16 Championship winners will meet Australia in the quarter-finals, but only after overcoming a stubborn Indian side who simply never gave up despite trailing for the majority of the match.
Japan seized control from the early minutes with their first charge coming in the second minute from midfielder Daiki Miyagawa.
Having vowed to not get complacent ahead of the match, Yoshiro Moriyama’s side wasted no time in taking the lead as with only 13 minutes in, Gakuto Kawamuro received Ryunosuke Yada’s through ball and sent it flying past the Indian goalkeeper.
Kawamuro almost added another to his name just minutes later but his attempt from outside the box hit the right side of the post, with Kohei Mochizuki sending the rebound wide.
India had a rare opportunity In the 23rd minute, skipper Korou Singh collected an overhead cross from Gurnaj Singh only to find himself surrounded by Kotaro Honda and Shotaro Shibata who easily cleared the ball away from danger.
Japan’s Rento Takaoka then saw two opportunities denied by the woodwork while at the other end, Korou Singh’s close range shot from a Mukul Panwar assist was punched away by Japanese goalkeeper Taisei Kambayashi.
Misery struck the Blue Colts soon after when midfielder Gaku Nawata extended Japan’s lead after outrunning the Indian defence before burying the ball in the net in the 41st minute.
Then, with a little help from Takaoka, Nawata scored his second just before the break to give Japan a comfortable advantage.
India opened the second half on a more confident note and thanks to Vanlalpeka’s free-kick, pulled one back within seconds of the restart.
The young Samurai Blue responded almost immediately when Shuto Nagano and Mochizuki score within 60 seconds of each other.
Bibiano Fernandes’ side saw a ray of hope when at the 60-minute mark, Thanglalsoun Gangte floated the ball to Danny Meitei (pictured above) and the number 17 made no mistake in sending it to the bottom right corner of the net.
The two goals seemed to have breathed fresh life into the Indian team with first, goalkeeper Sahil saving Gakuto Kawamura’s penalty in the 69th minute, followed by Meitei forcing an own goal from midfielder Daiki Miyagawa to narrow the gap.
In the 73rd miinute, Takaoaka’s perfect cross found the unmarked Yotaro Nakajima who made no mistake in giving Japan their sixth goal.
Determined to keep fighting, Indian skipper Korou Singh beat the offside trap in the 79th minute to score from Lalpekhlua’s assist.
Japan, however, had the final say with Gota Yamaguchi and Shungo Siguira both finding the net late on to cap the astonishing win.
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