Japan draws with Jordan 1-1 in Asian Cup
Defender Maya Yoshida scored an injury-time goal to earn Japan a 1-1 draw against Jordan in the Asian Cup on Sunday and avoid an upset.
Japan dominated the Group B match from the start but struggled to break down the physical Jordanian defense. Japan had several chances in the first half, with one goal disallowed for offside.
Japan striker Shinji went past two defenders in the 43rd minute, only to see his shot saved by Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi.
Jordan barely tested Japan before it opened the scoring in the 44th when Hasan Abdel Fattah's strike rebounded off the foot of Yoshida.
Japan, ranked 29th, attacked for most of the second half, forcing a string of saves from Shafi. Japan came close in the 62nd when an attempt from Makoto Hasebe was just kept out by Shafi.
In injury time, Yoshida received a cross from Hasebe and shot past Shafi to equalize.
''I couldn't have imagined this result,'' Japan's Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. ''We had prepared ourselves to win.''
Zaccheroni praised substitute striker Shinji Okazaki but said his team's performance overall was ''so-so.''
''Jordan played defensively in the first half. We had ball position but it didn't matter,'' Zaccheroni said. ''We couldn't get a goal even though we had chances and then we gave up the own goal which made it difficult for us.''
Jordan coach Adnan Hamad called the result ''sad''.
''I would like to admit this was a good match,'' Hamad said. ''A victory was possible. The result was a sad result but not a bad result.''
In the two teams' only other meeting in the Asian Cup, Japan beat Jordan in the 2004 final on penalties.
Saudi Arabia and Syria are the other teams in Group B.
Japan: Eiji Kawashima, Yasuyuki Konno, Yuto Nagatomo, Atsuto Uchida, Yasuhito Endo, Daisuke Matsui (Shinji Okazaki, 57), Shinji Kagawa, Ryoichi Maeda, Makoto Hasebe, Keisuke Honda (Jungo Fujimoto, 89), Maya Yoshida.
Jordan: Amer Shafi, Suliman al-Salman, Baha Abdelrahman, Amer Deeb, Bashar Bani Yaseen, Odai al-Saify, Abdallah Deeb (Ahmad Abdelhalim, 71), Shadi Abu Hashhash, Basem Fathi, Hatem Aqel (Mohammad al-Dmeiri, 79), Hasan Abdel Fattah.