On Thursday 20 September, the U-16 Japan National Team won their first match of the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 against the U-16 Thailand National Team 5-2.
As Coach MORIYAMA Yoshiro later reflected, “We conceded a goal early in the match to get off to a rough start,” Japan was caught off-guard and conceded the opening goal in the second minute of the match.
Despite conceding the early goal, the Japanese side kept their composure, as defender SUMI Kohshiro looked back, “Because it was so early in the match, we weren’t rattled by it.” In the seventh minute, midfielder NARUOKA Hikaru dribbled through the right flank before sending a cut back to YAMAUCHI Kakeru, who fired a mid-range shot. The shot was once blocked by the opposing defender, but ARAKI Ryotaro was there to respond and convert the loose ball to level the match. Just two minutes later, Araki responded to a through ball delivered by Yamauchi, creating a two-on-one situation against the Thai goalkeeper. Araki calmly dished the ball to KONDO Kuraba who slotted the ball into the net to give Japan the go-ahead goal.
However, in the 15th minute, assuming the opposing forward was in an offside position, the Japanese defenders stopped their play against a long ball and allowed the striker to score the equaliser. Defender HANDA Riku later regretted this play, “We had to play until the whistle was blown.”.....
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