Qualifiers - Group J: Japan, Malaysia impress in openers
Vientiane: Japan began the defence of their AFC U-16 Championship title with a 4-0 win over Laos while Malaysia registered an emphatic 7-0 triumph over Cambodia in Group J qualifying for the 2020 Finals at the National Stadium in Vientiane on Wednesday.
Japan, who defeated Tajikistan to lift the 2018 title, were simply too strong for hosts Laos while Cambodia had no answer to Malaysia's fast paced game.
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Japan 4-0 Laos
Laos' valiant defending kept Japan at bay with the opening goal only coming in the 25th minute with Hiroto Suzuki giving the East Asians the lead they deserved.
Japan's advantage was doubled just a minute later, with midfielder Yoshiki Narahara scoring almost from the restart to leave the home team shell-shocked.
The Southeast Asians' defensive wall remained strong in the opening minutes of the second half but Japan's incessant pressure was rewarded in the 63rd minute with midfielder Taishin Yamazaki slotting home.
There was to be a fourth, with Suzuki scoring his second of the match in the 75th minute.
Japan will play Cambodia on Friday with Laos facing Malaysia on the same day.
Malaysia 7-0 Cambodia
Malaysia got off to a dream start when they were awarded a penalty in the seventh minute, which midfielder Muhammad Adam Uwais converted and from thereon, the Southeast Asians didn't look back.
Defender Adam Farhan doubled their lead in the 16th minute and forward Muhammad Akid scored in the 22nd and 30th minutes to ensure Malaysia held a healthy lead going into the break.
P. Maniam's side, however, did not take their foot off the pedal in the second half as forward Muhammad Harry Danish made it 5-0 in the 52nd minute.
Captain Muhammad Nabil Qayyum got into the scoring act in the 65th minute and substitute Mohamad Khairil rounded off the action with his effort two minutes into added time.
Photos: Lao Football Federation
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