Alberto Zaccheroni's Japan ran riot over an overwhelmed Tajikistan squad, scoring four goals in the first half and adding four more to their tally in the second
Forward Mike Havenaar earned his first start for Japan, who also sent out veteran Kengo Namakura.
Japan controlled the game from the first touch with over half a dozen solid chances before Havenaar scored his first international goal, an 11th-minute header after an expert cross from Yuichi Komano.
Within 17 minutes Japan already had ten shots, and they doubled their lead in the 18th on Shinji Okazaki’s close-range effort from the right side.
Komano scored his own first international goal in the 35th minute, sending a low rocket past the Tajik goalkeeper after a poor clearance from the defenders. Shinji Kagawa made it 4-0 in the 41st minute and a fifth goal was not out of the question before the half ended.
Japan’s assault didn’t let down in the second half when Havenaar headed in his second goal of the night less than a minute after the whistle. In an ensuing five-minute period, three Japanese players hit the woodwork.
Veteran Nakamura Kengo, who was involved in nearly every goal this night, scored his own from close-range in the 55th to make it 6-0. Kagawa made it 7-0 with a clever volley from just outside the box in the 69th. Okazaki earned his own brace with a header in the 74th, and although Japan registered over 40 shots a ninth goal was elusive.
Japan’s dominance of Tajikistan was utter and complete. The visitors failed to register a shot and never held possession for more than 30 seconds. Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima’s first touch came in the 33rd minute.
The teams will play each other again in one month’s time on November 11 in Tajikistan.
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