The second group stage fixtures of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™ Qualifiers took place on Monday 12 September. In Group C, the U-19 Japan National Team faced the U-19 Laos National Team at the New Laos National Stadium.
For Japan, this was their first match of the qualifier, while it was the second match for Laos. With heavy rain falling before the start of the match, kick-off was delayed for about 30 minutes and the match had to be played on a waterlogged pitch, which imposed a challenge for the Japanese players both physically and mentally.
With the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ serving as the final qualification round for next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup™, this match was a match Japan could not afford to lose. For this match, Head Coach TOGASHI Koichi named KIMURA Ryoya (Nihon University) as the starting goalkeeper, with NAKANO Shinya (Sagan Tosu), TANAKA Hayato (Kashiwa Reysol), KIKUCHI Shuta (V-Varen Nagasaki), and MATSUDA Hayate (Mito HollyHock) forming the defence line. YAMANE Riku (Yokohama F. Marinos) and SANO Kodai (Fagiano Okayama) anchored the midfield with KITANO Sota (Cerezo Osaka), EINAGA Takatora (Kawasaki Frontale), and YAMAZAKI Taishin (University of Tsukuba) serving as the attacking midfielders, while SAKAMOTO Isa (Gamba Osaka) was named as the lone striker. .....
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