Qualifiers - Group B: Japan edge Korea Republic for Finals spot
Ordos: Japan overcame a resilient Korea Republic side with a 4-2 victory to seal their place in the AFC Futsal Championship Turkmenistan 2020 Finals after finishing top of Group B of the East Zone Qualifiers.
Japan will be making their 16th appearance in the Finals, while Korea Republic will need to play the Group A runners-up, to be decided later on Thursday, in a play-off match, with the winners securing their ticket to Turkmenistan 2020 next February.
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It was an intense match from the get-go, with both sides hungry to open the scoring, but it was Japan's Murota Yuki, who scored a hat-trick against Macau two days ago, who found the back of the net in the seventh minute.
Korea Republic, however, stuck to their gameplan and were rewarded for their hardwork when Lee Min-yong converted a penalty three minutes later to ensure the game went into the half-time break on level terms.
Japan surged in the second half with Kato Minami restoring their lead in the 22nd minute, before doubling his tally four minutes later.
Kato, who had also scored a hat-trick two days ago, completed his second treble of the qualifying campaign in the 32nd minute when he made no mistake from the second penalty spot.
A defensive misplay from the Japanese side saw Korea Republic awarded another penalty, which Lee duly slotted in on 39 minutes, but it was too little too late as Japan held on for the win.
Photos: Chinese Football Association
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