Japan beats Tajikistan 4-0 in World Cup qualifier

Unbeaten Japan brushed aside Tajikistan 4-0 and advanced to the

last Asian qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup on Friday.

Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki scored his second goal of the

match in the dying seconds, putting the final touch to an

effortless victory that kept Japan atop Group C, ahead of

second-placed Uzbekistan, which beat North Korea 1-0 to also

advance at the Koreans’ expense.

Other goals in the game played in the national stadium in the

Tajik capital Dushanbe came from Yasuyuki Konno and Ryoichi

Maeda.

The loss was Tajikistan’s fourth from as many group games. It

reached the qualification phase only after Syria was barred by FIFA

for illegally fielding a player.

Japan will take on North Korea at Pyongyang on Tuesday, its

first match in North Korea since 1989.

Alberto Zaccheroni’s team faced few difficulties in overcoming

Tajikistan, which it crushed by 8-0 last month, although it took a

fortuitous rebound in the 36th minute by Konno from a save by Tajik

goalkeeper Alisher Tuychiev to break the deadlock.

A header from Okzaki in the 61st doubled the score. Eight

minutes before time striker Maeda clinically struck the ball into

the top corner to beat Tuychiev once more.

Lineups:

Tajikistan: Alisher Tuychiev, Sohib Savankulov, Eraj Rajabov,

Davronjon Ergashev, Ibragim Rabimov (Makhmadali Sadikov, 69),

Nuriddin Davronov, Dzhakhongir Dzhalilov (Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev,

57), Farkhod Vasiev, Kamel Saedov (Akhtam Khamrakulov, 68), Dilshod

Vasiev, Khurshed Makhmudov.

Japan: Eiji Kawashima, Yuichi Komano, Atsuto Uchida (Masahiko

Inoha, 89), Yasuhito Endo, Shinji Okazaki, Shinji Kagawa, Kengo

Nakamura (Hiroshi Kiyotake, 87), Yasuyuki Konno, Mike Havenaar

(Ryoichi Maed, 56), Makoto Hasebe, Maya Yoshida.