BANGKOK – Japan were given a real scare as they came from two goals down to beat Australia 4-2 and top Group B at the AFC Futsal Championships.
Scott Gilligan’s side produced a gritty performance at Nimibutr Stadium and held a healthy advantage at the interval only for Japan to produce a second-half fightback and book a quarter-final clash with Kyrgyzstan.
Japan had the first real chance when Daisuke Ono’s defence-splitting pass set Kotaro Inabo clear but keeper Gavin O’Brien did excellently to stand up and block his effort.
O’Brien then spread himself well at the back post to deny Akira Toyoshima before Adrian Vizzari rattled the frame of the Japan goal with a fearsome strike.
However, Australia took the lead when Christopher Zeballos weaved his way the length of the pitch before dispatching a right-foot shot past Hisao Sadanaga and into the top corner.
Scott Gilligan’s side then doubled their advantage when Luke Haydon broke free and, as Sadanaga came charging out of his goal, rolled his foot over the ball to drag it past the prone keeper and slot it into the empty net.
Gavin O’Brien made another full-length save to push away Rikarudo Higa’s shot at the start of the second-half before Danny Ngaluafe produced an outrageous piece of skill to create an opening but saw his shot hit the outside of the post.
Japan then pulled a goal back when Kanayama slid in at the far post to apply the finishing to Kenichiro Kogure’s pass.
And it was soon 2-2 when Ono received the ball with his back to goal and held off his defended to turn and fire in the equaliser.
Japan then took the lead with just under nine minutes to go when Inaba found Yusuke Inada at the far post and he sidefooted home.
Vizzari thought he had netted a late leveller but his effort was scrambled off the line before Yusuke Komiyama scored a fourth from his own half into an empty net after Australia had pulled their keeper.
Source : www.the-AFC.com
Published : 13/5/2008