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Nagai double fires Japan past El Salvador

Sunday, June 9, 2019
Japan v El Salvador - international friendly

Miyagi: Forward Kensuke Nagai struck twice as a new-look Japan beat El Salvador 2-0 at home in their final Copa America tune-up on Sunday.

The FC Tokyo striker smashed home the opener after 19 minutes in Miyagi before adding his second just before half-time with a clinical finish to give the Samurai Blue a winning send-off.

Tournament guests Japan face Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador in Group C at the Copa America, which kicks off on Thursday.

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Teenage sensation Takefusa Kubo, who won his first senior Japan call-up last week, made his debut for Hajime Moriyasu's side as a 67th minute substitute after being overlooked for the goalless midweek draw with Trinidad and Tobago.

Kubo, who also plays for FC Tokyo, was invited to Barcelona's youth academy as a scrawny nine-year-old where he earned the nickname the "Japanese Messi".

Moriyasu has named no fewer than 17 uncapped players to his Copa America squad as Japan look to build for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

The Japan boss also left behind big-name players such as Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki for the AFC Asian Cup in the UAE earlier this year where his side were beaten 3-1 in the final by Qatar.

Qatar, who will host the 2022 World Cup, will also take part in the Copa America, taking on Lionel Messi's Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay in Group B.




Meanwhile, Turkmenistan got their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Asian Qualifiers preparations underway, playing out a scoreless draw with Uganda in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

In their first fixture under recently appointed Croatian head coach Ante Mise, the Central Asians shared the spoils with the Cranes, who are less than two weeks away from the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Captained by PFC Lokomotiv midfielder and AFC Asian Cup star Arslanmyrat Amanov, the Turkmen side were unable to find the goal to give Mise a winning start to life in charge.


International FIFA friendly match 9 June 2019. Abu Dhabi (UAE) Uganda ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฌ 0:0 ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฒTurkmenistan

Posted by Turkmenistan National Football Team on Sunday, 9 June 2019

Farouk Miya hit the woodwork with a first half free kick for the East Africans, while Ugandan defender Murushid Juuko was sent off after the break as the fixture ended in stalemate at New York University Stadium.

Turkmenistan have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup, but they enter the Qatar 2022 qualifiers fresh from a first AFC Asian Cup appearance since 2004.

They will enter the race to reach Qatar in the second round of Asian qualifiers โ€“ the same stage where they finished third in their five-team group in their attempt to qualify for Russia 2018.



Singapore: Singapore clinched the 2019 Merlion Cup with a 1-0 win over Thailand, courtesy of Ikhsan Fandi's first half goal, while Indonesia claimed third place after beating Philippines 5-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore take home the Merlion Cup 2019 after a tough fight in the final! Well done champions! ๐Ÿ†

Posted by Football Association of Singapore on Sunday, 9 June 2019

Singapore, who had beaten the Philippines 3-0 in the semi-finals, began spiritedly with Ikhsan having the first shot on target on nine minutes. Thailand's Natthawut Munsuwan tested goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad on the opposite end.

As the game looked to enter the half-time break goalless, Thailand goalkeeper Korraphat Nareechan failed to latch onto a loose ball in the area on 37 minutes, and an oncoming Ikhsan made no mistake to send it to the back of the net to break the deadlock.

Thailand, hosts of 2020 AFC U-23 Championship, tried to find the equaliser but a goal was not forthcoming as Singapore claimed the title.


Kemenangan lima gol tanpa balas menjadi penutup perjuangan Garuda Muda di Piala Merlion 2019.

Terimakasih, Garuda Muda! โœŠ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ#PSSINow #KitaGaruda

— PSSI (@PSSI) June 9, 2019

Earlier, Muhammad Rafli was the star of Indonesia's 5-0 win over Philippines with a hat-trick.

The 22-year-old forward opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute, but the Philippines regrouped quickly to deny the Indonesians any leeway in the first half.

Indonesia, however, returned stronger after the break with Rizky Dwi Febrianto converting a penalty in the 47th minute to double their lead.

Rafli then starred with two back-to-back goals in the 59th and 67th minutes, before Asnawi Bahar secured the win with the final goal of the night six minutes later.

Sources: AFP, Japan Football Association

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