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Key Events

90' + 3'
H. Souttar
Yellow Card
86'
A. Behich
Own Goal
2 - 1
70'
A. Hrustić
Goal
1 - 1
68'
H. Morita
Yellow Card
8'
A. Tanaka
Goal
1 - 0

Match Stats

Possession
45% 54%
5
3
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 6 5
Total Passes 413 493
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Live table
Pos Team P W D L F A +/- PTS Form
1 Saudi Arabia KSA Saudi Arabia 6 5 1 0 9 3 +6 16 W D W W W
2 Japan JPN Japan 6 4 0 2 5 3 +2 12 W W W L W
3 Australia AUS Australia 6 3 2 1 9 4 +5 11 D D L W W
4 Oman OMA Oman 6 2 1 3 6 7 -1 7 L D W L L
5 China PR CHN China PR 6 1 2 3 7 11 -4 5 D D L W L
6 Vietnam VIE Vietnam 6 0 0 6 4 12 -8 0 L L L L L

Key

World Cup
Play-off

Commentary

FULL TIME: JAPAN 2 AUSTRALIA 1 – The referee blows his whistle to end a heartstopper in Saitama!  Both sides created excellent chances before Ajdin Hrustić dispatched a cracking free kick past keeper Shuichi Gonda in the 69th minute to set up a thrilling final twenty minutes.  Both sides launched attack after attack but in the end it was a scramble on the goal line and an unlucky Aziz Behich own goal that would prove to be the difference.  Japan resuscitate their floundering campaign with a crucial three points whilst a gallant Australia record their first defeat in Group B.
H. Souttar
Yellow Card
90' + 3' YELLOW CARD AUSTRALIA - Harry Souttar is handed a card for his high challenge.
90' + 3' Harry Souttar catches Takehiro Tomiyasu high and Japan are awarded a crucial free kick on the last line of defence.
R. Grant
F. Karačić
89' SUBSTITUTION AUSTRALIA - The Socceroos' play their last card with Rhyan Grant coming on for Fran Karačić.
C. Ikonomidis
M. Boyle
89' SUBSTITUTION AUSTRALIA - Now it's Australia's turn to try and create some sort of spark - Martin Boyle will be replaced by Chris Ikonomidis.
A. Behich
Own Goal
86' GOAL JAPAN (Own goal Aziz Behich) JAPAN 2 AUSTRALIA 1 - It wasn't pretty but somehow the Samurai Blue have managed to snatch the lead in Saitama!  Takuma Asano's shot off the crossbar creates a scramble on the goal line and the unlucky defender is Aziz Behich who, despite his best effort, sees the ball deflect off his boot and crawl over the line.
G. Shibasaki
H. Morita
85' SUBSTITUTION JAPAN - Gaku Shibasaki comes on to replace Hidemasa Morita.
Y. Nakayama
Y. Nagatomo
85' SUBSTITUTION JAPAN - The last roll of the dice for the Samurai Blue will see Yuto Nagatomo leave the field for Yuta Nakayama.
84' Every change is crucial now as Japan prepare to fire their last shot with a double substitution.
83' Fran Karacic is clattered into by Hidemasa Morita and Australia have a crucial free kick just forward of half way.
J. Jeggo
T. Rogić
82' SUBSTITUTION AUSTRALIA - Tomas Rogić's match is over as he makes his way to the sideline to be replaced by James Jeggo.
81' You can cut the air with a knife in Saitama as we enter the crucial final ten minutes of this second half.
79' CHANCE!  A blocked shot falls into the path of Takuma Asano who, fresh onto the field, fires a cracker from the top of the area but once again Ryan is unable to be beaten.
T. Asano
T. Minamino
78' SUBSTITUTION JAPAN - Desperate times now for Japan and they look for some fresh legs with Takumi Minamino to make way for Takuma Asano.
76' CHANCE!  Japan are queuing up in front of goal however the Socceroos are able to hang on with some scrambling defence and a couple of superb reflex saves from Ryan.
74' Japan drag one back from the left into a dangerous area inside the penalty area but Souttar is quick to close the space and hack the ball to safety.
73' This match is about to explode with both sides now looking to go on the attack at every opportunity.
A. Hrustić
Goal
70' GOAL AUSTRALIA (Ajdin Hrustić) JAPAN 1 AUSTRALIA 1 - We are all square in Saitama as a result of a screamer from Ajdin Hrustić!  From right on the edge of the area, the midfielder rockets his free kick off the crossbar and it bounces in - this one is set to go all the way!
H. Morita
Yellow Card
68' YELLOW CARD JAPAN - Hidemasa Morita is handed a card for his tackle that has resulted in a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area.
65' Almost a penalty to Australia!  Ajdin Hrustic is brought down at the top of the box - the initial decision was a penalty however, upon review, it is downgraded to a free kick as the initial contact was ruled to have been made a blade of grass outside the area.
A. Behich
Yellow Card
63' YELLOW CARD AUSTRALIA - Aziz Behich goes into the ref's book for a professional foul on Junya Ito.
M. Duke
A. Taggart
62' SUBSTITUTION AUSTRALIA - A double change for the Socceroos with Adam Taggart off and Mitchell Duke on.
A. Mabil
A. Mooy
61' SUBSTITUTION AUSTRALIA - Changes too for the Socceroos - Aaron Mooy makes way for Awer Mabil.
K. Furuhashi
Y. Ōsako
61' SUBSTITUTION JAPAN - Japan swing the first change of the match with striker Yūya Ōsako to be replaced by Kyogo Furuhashi.
59' CHANCE!  Australia's best chance of this second half!  A beautiful back heel rolls into the path of Rogic who unleashes a full-blooded shot but his effort was always high.
57' Japan have started to look a little more lively in the past couple of minutes but have not been able to break down the disciplined Socceroo's defence.
55' CHANCE!  A perfectly weighted free kick finds an unmarked Hiroki Sakai in front of goal but the header has too much elevation.
54' Ajdin Hrustic concedes a free kick with his late challenge and now it is Japan with a free kick opportunity forward of half way.
52' A clever lob pass into the penalty area almost finds Nagatomo however the veteran can't quite control the ball and it dribbles harmlessly over the goal line.
51' CHANCE! Aaron Mooy is allowed time and space by the Japanese defence and he obliges by unleashing a rocket that whistles past the near post.
50' Ajdin Hrustic takes the free kick and delivers into the area however the ball doesn't have the required elevation and it is comfortably dealt with by the Japanese defence.
48' Fran Karacic draws a free kick and the Socceroos have a free kick in a dangerous attacking position.
47' An excellent recovery from Ito creates a half opportunity but the Socceroos' defence is able to work the ball back to Ryan for the clearance.
45' SECOND HALF - Australia kick off and we are back underway in Saitama!
HALF TIME: JAPAN 1 AUSTRALIA 0 – An electrifying first half comes to an end in Saitama!  Japan settled some early nerves when Ao Tanaka delivered in the 8th minute to give the Samurai Blue an early lead.  The Socceroos gradually gained control of the tempo and went agonisingly close late in the half when Taggert's shot rattled the woodwork.  A massive second half ahead with only a goal separating these two great rivals.
45' There will be one minute of additional time played in this first half.
42' CHANCE! The Socceroos almost find the equaliser but are denied by the barest of margins!  Adam Taggert is released inside the penalty area with just the keeper ahead - he pulls the trigger but Shuichi Gonda gets in a crucial touch and tips the ball into the post.
39' An important period coming up to half time with Australia controlling possession and desperate to put an equaliser on the board before half time.
37' Nagatomo hooks a very dangerous looking cross into the path of Osako but there is too much height on the ball and it clears the Japanese striker.
34' CHANCE!  A huge opportunity missed by the Samurai Blue!  Once again, Japan are quick to pounce on an error in midfield by the Socceroos - Osako breaks inside the penalty area but his relatively tame effort finishes wide of the target.
32' Ito has options in front of goal however his cross is blocked by Aziz Behich and Aaron Mooy is there for the Socceroos to pounce on the loose ball.
30' Ito, who has been dangerous, is the target of a looping pass down the right however he is beaten to the ball by Harry Souttar.
27' Trent Sainsbury, under immense pressure from Yuya Osako, is unable to see the ball over the goal line and Japan have another corner.
26' Ito manages to get goalside of his marker but the flag is up for offside.
24' Outstanding play from Nagatomo who controls the high ball before sending in a dangerous cross however Mat Ryan bravely puts his body on the line to remove the danger in front of goal.
21' Junya Ito gets on the end of the break away after the Socceroos coughed up possession on half way - he swings onto his left boot but his shot was never on target.
20' This has been an excellent response from Australia after conceding the opener in the 8th minute - the Socceroos are controlling the tempo and looking dangerous in attack.
18' The Socceroos whip the ball in from the right - the Japanese defence has looked a touch shaky in the air so far in this first half.
16' Despite the scoreline, the Socceroos have enjoyed the majority of the play so far in this first half with 55% possession.
15' A lapse in defence from Japan gives Jackson Irvine a free run at the ball but he doesn't get the contact he was after with his header.
13' CHANCE!  Best chance of this first half so far for the Socceroos!  The ball drops for Tomas Rogic who unleashes a volley however his effort clears the crossbar.
12' Martin Boyle almost gets loose on the right however Yuto Nagatomo is able to get in a timely touch and force the ball over the sideline.
A. Tanaka
Goal
8' GOAL JAPAN (Ao Tanaka) JAPAN 1 AUSTRALIA 0 - It's a dream start for Japan in Saitama!  The Socceroos' defence is unable to deal with the ball into the penalty area and it runs out the back to Ao Tanaka - the attacking midfielder picks his spot and rolls his shot past Mat Ryan into the back of the net.
7' Japan have made a bright start in this first half and have created the best of the opportunities so far.
6' CHANCE!  From the corner, Wataru Endo beats Aziz Behich in the air and gets a handy header away but the ball slips the wrong side of the post.
5' Harry Souttar loses control of the ball which dribbles over the goal line - Japan will take the first corner of the match.
3' Junya Ito explodes away down the right hand side and drags a cross in from the right but he is unable to find a target in front of goal.
2' Aaron Mooy floats a pass towards the goal mouth but Japan have all the numbers at the fall of the ball.
1' Japan go on the front foot early however they concede a free kick which will give Australia a chance to relieve.
1' FIRST HALF - Japan kick off and we are underway in Saitama!
SUBS: Chris Ikonomidis, Awer Mabil, Kenneth Dougall, Bailey Wright, Callum Elder, Ryan McGowan, Danny Vukovic, Lawrence Thomas, Riley McGree, Mitchell Duke, James Jeggo, Rhyan Grant.
AUSTRALIA STARTING XI (4-2-3-1): Mat Ryan (GK); Fran Karacic, Aziz Behich, Trent Sainsbury, Harry Souttar; Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine; Ajdin Hrustic, Tomas Rogic, Martin Boyle; Adam Taggart.
SUBS: Kosei Tani, Gaku Shibasaki, Naomichi Ueda, Kyogo Furuhashi, Takuma Asano, Yuta Nakayama, Ado Onaiwu, Daichi Kamada, Sei Muroya, Eiji Kawashima, Ko Itakura, Genki Haraguchi.
JAPAN STARTING XI (4-2-3-1): Shuichi Gonda (GK); Yuto Nagatomo, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida; Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita; Takumi Minamino, Ao Tanaka, Junya Ito; Yuya Osako.
Let's have a look at how the two sides will line up for this must-win clash.
Things could not be more different on the Australian side of the ledger - the Socceroos have won a record 11 straight FIFA World Cup qualifiers and sit undefeated at the top of Group B.  They were made to work hard in the first half last week against Oman but finished too strongly for the hosts, eventually crusing to a 3-1 victory.
Japan's campaign has got off to a rocky start with the Samurai Blue recording just one victory from their opening three fixtures.  They had their chances against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah last week but were ultimately sunk when Al Buraikan capitalised on an error in the 71st minute and slotted the winner.
Welcome to Saitama Stadium in Saitama where Matchday Four of the AFC Asian Qualifiers kicks off with the clash between two great modern-day rivals - Japan and Australia.