Mon, 30 Nov, -0001
Osaka: Six different scorers netted for Japan as they defeated Vietnam 6-1 on the penultimate round of fixtures at the AFC Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 qualifiers on Monday.
Mana Iwabuchi, Shinobu Ono, Nahomi Kawasaumi (pictured), Emi Nakajima, Yuki Ogimi and Kumi Yokoyama all found the net for the hosts, while Huynh Nhu struck Vietnam’s first goal of the competition by way of consolation.
Iwabuchi gave Japan the lead in the 39th minute, and even though Huynh Nhu equalised from the penalty spot three minutes later, Ono was on hand to restore Japan’s one goal advantage in the last minute of the first half before Kawasumi, Nakajima, Yokoyama, and Ogimi added the gloss with four goals in the final 10 minutes.
“Vietnam really persevered defensively. But we kept our focus right until the last minute and as they changed players and lost a bit of concentration we were able to add to the score,” said Japan coach Norio Sasaki, whose side were already out of the reckoning for a place at the 2016 Olympic Games ahead of kick off.
“We knew we couldn’t go to Rio but looking further ahead we were aware that this will contribute towards the next World Cup and the Olympics in Tokyo.
“We can’t go to Rio but for the next three four years we have to prepare well. Asian and world women’s football is really changing.”
Both teams already knew they were unable to qualify coming into this game – with Vietnam having lost their first three matches and China’s win over Korea Republic earlier on Monday having ended Japan’s slim hopes of making it to their fourth consecutive Games – but that didn’t stop them putting on a show at Kincho Stadium.
Japan had the first opportunity in the 12th minute, when Asuna Tanaka found Mana Iwabuchi in space on the right hand side of the penalty area. The Bayern Munich forward struck a low drive beyond Dang Thi Kieu Trinh in the Vietnam goal, only to see it rebound back off the far post.
Megumi Takase also went close for Japan on 21 minutes, but could only stab her effort wide of the same left-hand post from close range after Vietnam struggled to clear a loose ball.
The reigning AFC Women’s Asian Cup holders moved in front just six minutes before half time, though, when a driven cross from Nakajima on the left was dispatched with aplomb by the arriving Iwabuchi.
Vietnam remained positive despite that concession and were soon back on level terms in the 42nd minute. Nguyen Thi Hoa was fouled by Azusa Iwashimizu in the area, and Huynh Nhu made no mistake from the spot, firing beyond Ayaka Yamashita’s despairing dive to her right.
Ono then re-established Japan’s lead on the cusp of half-time, setting herself and passing the ball into the top left hand corner from the edge of the box after being set up by Iwabuchi.
Japan had the better of things in the second half, and the impressive Nakajima thundered an effort against the bar from 25 yards 11 minutes after the restart, before Ogimi headed over in the 73rd minute.
Japan wrapped things up with a late four-goal rush. Kawasumi nodded home an Ogimi cross with 10 minutes to play, before Nakajima saw her deflected effort loop in off Chuong Thi Kieu three minutes later.
Yokoyama tapped in from close range following a rebound in the last minute of regular time, leaving Ogimi to volley home in stoppage time.
“Our players fought well and tried to play as much as they could, but in the last few minutes we weren’t quite fit enough. In the last 10 minutes we conceded four goals, which is why there was such a big score,” said Vietnam coach Mai Duc Chung.
“On behalf of our national team I’d like to thank the fans from Vietnam and from Japan. Many of them came to the stadium so I would like to thank them very much.”
Photo: Lagardère Sports