November 20, 2018 / 12:50 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Japan breeze past Kyrgyzstan to win final Asian Cup warm-up

TOKYO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A debut goal for Japan defender Ryosuke Yamanaka prompted a 4-0 rout of Kyrgyzstan in Toyota City on Tuesday, as coach Hajime Moriyasu remains undefeated after five games in charge.

In their final friendly match before the Samurai Blue head to the United Arab Emirates for the Asian Cup in January, Moriyasu made 11 changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Venezuela on Friday.

He also gave a debut to Yokohama F Marinos defender Yamanaka, who took less than two minutes to make his mark on the international stage, opening the scoring with a crisp drive that whistled in off the far post.

Japan looked threatening every time they went on the attack and quickly doubled their lead when Genki Haraguchi’s free kick squirmed under hapless Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Pavel Matiash and into the net on 19 minutes.

Winger Junya Ito had chances to further the host’s lead during the first half but spurned his opportunities.

Japan were nevertheless able to open up the Kyrgyz defence time and time again. And once Moriyasu brought on his preferred forward line as substitutes in the second half, Japan were more clinical.

On 72 minutes the ball landed at the feet of Werder Bremen striker Yuya Osako, who with 37 caps is Japan’s most experienced attacking player, and the 28-year-old made no mistake with a well-placed finish past Matiash.

Just a minute later, another pair of substitutes combined as Ritsu Doan put Shoya Nakajima clean through and the diminutive Portimonense player lashed home Japan’s fourth.

Nakajima has been the most impressive player in the vibrant attacking Japanese performances under Moriyasu, who took over after the World Cup in July.

They have now scored 15 goals in five games and will head to the UAE in early January full of confidence as they seek to win their fifth Asian Cup title. (Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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