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Syria 1-2 Japan

Tehran: Japanese forward Koki Sugimori scored a goal within one minute of entering into the field as late goals help Japan to book a berth in the semi-final of the AFC U-16 Championship 2012 after they defeated a spirited Syrian side 2-1 in one of the thrilling quarter-finals of Sunday.

The U-16 national Syrian team were awarded a penalty when the score was 0-0 with half an hour remaining to play but Ahmed Ashqar’s effort was saved by Japanese goalie Mizuki Hayashi. Japan finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute after Sugimori fired home the goal within one minute of his arrival replacing misfiring forward Hiroki Ogawa.

Sugimori had his hand on the second goal Japan scored two minutes later as Taro Sugimoto utilized the rebound off Sugimori’s shot to score Japan’s second. Syria pulled back one goal through another substitute player Khaled Kourdoghgli but they ran out of time as late pressures were expertly handled by the Japanese to stop Syrians perform any late drama in the match.

The Syrians were very resilient and did not allow the Japanese to play their passing game as the Japanese were kept quiet for the larger period of the first half. Goal scorer Sugimoto rattled the upright in the 13th minute but the Syrians also had a couple of long-range effort which tested Japanese goalie Hayashi.

The Japanese raised the pressure in the second half but were well aware about the Syrian threat in the long-ball and counter-attack.

The Syrians had a golden opportunity to take a 1-0 lead when Australian referee Strebre Delovski pointed at the spot after defender Motegi Rikiya handled the ball intentionally. Ashqar took the charge but the ball was in nice position and range for the Japanese goalkeeper Hayashi to collect.

Japan made full use of the let off and finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute. There were some nervy moments for Japan at the end but Rikiya rescued the Japanese first by creating Japan’s first goal and second by blocking Kourdoghgli’s effort deep into the stoppage time inside the six-yard area.

Source: the AFC