Japan continued their unbeaten record in the World Cup 2022 Asian qualifiers with a 2-0 victory away to Kyrgystan. The match which was dominated by Japan saw the away team wear their new clear sky kit for the first time.
Kyrgyzstan was eager to make the game difficult for their more illustrious opponents by defending deep and looking to hit on the counter. This made for a testing opening to the game where the home team missed a glaring opportunity in front of goal.
The visitors missed an early chance when Hiroki Sakai floated a cross from the right to an unmarked Minamino in the middle of the area, but the Salzburg winger sent his header wide. Japan continued to push with Minimato denied once again by Kyrgyzstan stopper KutmanKadyrbekov when put through on goal.
Minimato gave japan the lead after converting from the spot late in the first half after being fouled by the goalkeeper. The goal was his fifth in a row for his country which began early this year and showed his growing importance to the team.
Japan went into the break a goal up and began the second half with the right intensity. Hannover midfielder Haraguchi made the game safe for the away side in the 54th minute. Haraguchi curled home a freekick from the edge of the box.
Kyrgyzstan tried to get into the game as the home fans cheered on with the closest coming from defender Victor Maier coming close. With this victory, Japan are almost certain of making it to the next round of the World Cup qualifiers.
In addition, the Blue Samurai are yet to concede in the qualifiers which would be good news to their coach. They will also be pole favourites to secure a spot in the Asian Cup as group winners.