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Rousing win for Japan ahead of Jordan 2018

Nagasaki: Reigning champions Japan completed their AFC Women’s Asian Cup preparations with thumping home win, racking up a 7-1 scoreline against 46th ranked Ghana at the Nagasaki Athletic Stadium on Sunday.

Ghana provided some early resistance, before the hosts took control with seven different players finding the net in the win; the Nadeshiko’s biggest since a 9-0 success against Hong Kong in September 2014.

In their first home match in 2018 Japan were expected to prevail, and Mina Tanaka gave Asako Takakura’s side the lead in the 14th minute, before talented striker Jane Ayieyam brought the Africans level 10 minutes later.

Ghanaian goalkeeper Patricia Mantey kept her side in the contest with a series of fine saves, but Mana Iwabuchi put Japan back in front in the 29th minute to take her tally to three goals in her last five matches.

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From there, the hosts didn’t look back, and the goals began to flow. Rika Masuya and Emi Nakajima scored either side of half time, before Hikari Takagi made it 5-1 with 15 minutes remaining.

Yuika Sugasawa lobbed to Mantey to bring up the half-dozen four minutes later, before veteran defender Aya Sameshima rounded out the scoring when she finished off a sweet passing move which included returning forward Nahomi Kawasumi with seven minutes remaining.

The 7-1 win comes at perfect time for Japan, ensuring the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup winners will arrive in Jordan with a spring in their step ahead of their opening fixture against Vietnam on April 7.

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