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Japan hammer Paraguay, India edged out by Belarus


Sendai: Olympic hosts Japan sent out an early warning ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Games women’s football tournament, beating Paraguay 7-0 in an international friendly on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, India’s two-match stint in Uzbekistan ended in a second successive narrow defeat as they fell 2-1 to Belarus.

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Appearing at the international level for the first time in 13 months, Japan did as they pleased in a match where they had over 30 shots at goal, finding the net three times before the interval, only to pile another four goals in the second-half.

Moeka Minami opened the scoring within six minutes for Asako Takakura’s side, before further goals to Mana Iwabuchi and own goal by Paraguay’s Tania Riso put the result beyond any real doubt by the 36th minute.

The second half began with wave after wave of Nadeshiko attacks before Yuika Sugasawa prodded home the fourth in the 52nd minute, and Iwabuchi scored the easiest of tap-ins to make it five just after the hour-mark.

Injury time goals to Yuka Momiki and Mina Tanaka rounded out the scoring at 7-0, with Paraguay goalkeeper Isabel Ortiz’s nine stops surely saving the 47th-ranked South Americans from a double-digit defeat.

Japan will continue their Olympic build-up with another friendly against Panama at Tokyo’s Japan National Stadium on Sunday.

While Asia’s next Olympic hosts enjoyed a confidence-boosting win on Thursday, 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup hosts India fell to second narrow defeat in a matter of days, conceding two second half goals to lose 2-1 at the AGMK Stadium.

With the match deadlocked after a competitive but goalless opening hour, Belarus broke through from the penalty spot through Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Anastasia Shuppo in the 66th minute, before captain Anna Pilipenko doubled the advantage with a close range strike that went in off the upright nine minutes later.

India pulled back a memorable consolation goal with one of the final kicks of the game, Sangita Basfore finding the net with aid of the woodwork from fully 30 yards to end her side’s trip to Uzbekistan on a high.

While India’s two-match schedule in Almalyk is now complete, Belarus will be back in action against Uzbekistan on Sunday.

Photos: AFP

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