Advertisement

Home / Sports / Football / World Cup Qualifiers: Substitute Kaoru Mitoma seals it for Japan

World Cup Qualifiers: Substitute Kaoru Mitoma seals it for Japan

Japan were well worth the win against an Australia side missing almost an entire team of regulars because of Covid infections and injury
Representational image.
Representational image.
Shutterstock

Reuters   |   Sydney   |   Published 25.03.22, 03:18 AM

Substitute Kaoru Mitoma scored twice in the final few minutes to give Japan a 2-0 win over Australia at a rain-soaked Olympic Stadium on Thursday and send his country through to the seventh successive edition of the World Cup finals.

Japan’s first victory over the Socceroos in Australia since 1998 also secured Saudi Arabia’s passage to Qatar and condemned Australia to a tricky path through two playoffs if they are also to make the finals for the fifth time in a row.

Advertisement

An entertaining qualifier in Group B looked to be heading towards a scoreless stalemate when in the 89th-minute Mitoma linked up with his former Kawasaki Frontale team mates Hidemasa Morita and Miki Yamane before slotting past goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

Winger Mitoma put the result beyond doubt five minutes later when he skipped through the tiring Australia defence and found the net again under Ryan’s despairing dive.

With Wataru Endo running midfield and Takumi Minamino a constant threat up front, Japan were well worth the win against an Australia side missing almost an entire team of regulars because of Covid infections and injury.

Minamino hit the woodwork twice inside five minutes towards the end of the opening half.

Saudi Arabia took to the field in Sharjah knowing they had already secured qualification and played out a 1-1 draw with China.

In Group A, Son Heung-min opened the scoring as South Korea moved to the top of Group A with a 2-0 win over Iran. Both teams had already secured their places at the finals in Qatar.                           



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.