Japan, Peru finish goalless in Kirin Cup

Japan and Peru played to a goalless draw in the opening match of the Kirin Cup on Wednesday.

Playing its first match since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit the country’s northeastern coast, Japan controlled the flow of play but was unable to capitalize on its chances.

Peru defender Jesus Rabanal took forward Ryoichi Maeda down 10 minutes after the break and Keisuke Honda sent a curling free kick just over the crossbar in Japan’s best chance.

Peru seized control late in the second half and looked to have secured the win when substitute Raul Ruidiaz hit the post with a right-footed volley that got past Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Peru faces the Czech Republic on Saturday while Japan will play the Czechs on Tuesday. Both teams made the trip to Japan after receiving assurance that the post-earthquake nuclear crisis posed no risk for players.

Japan captain Makoto Hasebe threatened 23 minutes in when he took a pass from Yasuhito Endo and sent a right-footed shot just wide of the post.

Adan Balbin had Peru’s best chance of the first half three minutes later with a long-range shot that was deflected just over the crossbar by Kawashima.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni was using the three-nation tournament as a warmup for his team’s qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup beginning in September.

Peru coach Sergio Markarian named a predominantly home-based squad and was giving his younger players some international experience.