On Thursday 9 March, the U-20 Japan National Team played their third group stage match of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023 at Lokomotiv Stadium, where they faced the U-20 Saudi Arabia National Team.
Japan entered the match in a position to clinch the knockout stage as group leaders with a win or a draw after winning their first two games. They would be eliminated if they lost by more than two goals but would still advance in second place if they lost by one goal. Ahead of the match, Head Coach TOGASHI Koichi said, “We came here in first place, and we intend to finish that way,” and also commented about the starting line-up, “We will choose the players who will give us the best chance of winning.”
For this match, Japan started KIMURA Ryoya (Nihon University) in goal with TANAKA Hayato (Kashiwa Reysol), KIKUCHI Shuta (Shimizu S-Pulse), YASHIKI Yusei (Oita Trinita), and MATSUDA Hayate (Mito HollyHock) forming the defence line. YAMANE Riku (Yokohama F. Marinos) and ABE Taisei (V-Varen Nagasaki) were named as defensive midfielders while MATSUKI Kuryu (FC Tokyo) played the number 10 role. YOKOYAMA Ayumu (Sagan Tosu) and KITANO Sota (Cerezo Osaka) were placed in the flanks with KUMATA Naoki (FC Tokyo) starting as the central forward. .....
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