2015 AFC Asian Cup: Japan, Iraq earn Group D wins
Santino Honasan on Jan 13, 2015 11:14 PM
(Photo Courtesy of www.afcasiancup.com) Japan's Maya Yoshida (22) scored the final goal to propel the Samurai Blue to a 4-0 win over Palestine
Defending champions Japan took one step closer to a title defense last Monday, January 12 with a 4-0 destruction of 2014 AFC Challenge Cup champions Palestine to kick off Group D Action in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.
The Samurai Blue got things going early thanks to an eighth minute goal from midfielder Yasuhito Endo. In the 25th minute, striker Shinji Okazaki recorded his 41st international goal, capitalizing on a Shinji Kagawa miss to head the ball into the net. Following a foul from Palestine’s Ashraf Nu’man, Keisuke Honda scored on a penalty kick in the 44th mark to put Japan ahead 3-0 by the halftime break.
Four minutes into the second half, Maya Yoshida caught a high pass from Shinji Kagawa and scored Japan’s fourth goal via a strong header to keep the game out of Palestine’s reach.
The Samurai Blue now sit at the top spot in Group D, earning three points from their opening win.
In other Group D action, Iraq pulled out a 1-0 win over Jordan.
23-year old midfielder Yaser Kasim danced through two defenders and then blasted the ball in between two more to score his second international goal and put Iraq up 1-0. The 77th minute conversion proved to be the winning goal as Jordan failed to come up with the equalizer.
The win puts Iraq just behind defending champions Japan in the Group D Standings.