January 9 – Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu part blamed the heat for his team’s underwhelming 3-2 win against Turkmenistan and acknowledged that Japan will need to improve as the tournament progresses.
“The conditions, we got a lesson there,” explained Moriyasu. “We could have done better and also this is something we need to improve. Our training match and also our official training yesterday was at 4pm in the heat, but it was a bit difficult, because we had players coming back from the J-league and some from the European leagues. This is something we knew before the game and I am sure that we will improve before the next match.”
Japan endured a lethargic opening 45 minutes in Abu Dhabi, controlling enjoyed possession but struggling to convert their dominance into goals. Playing without zest, Japan were punished as Turkmenistan struck in the 27th minute. After the break, the team of Moriyasu regained their composure and Yuya Osako’s 56th-minute equaliser signalled the beginning of end for Turkmenista.
“The first half we struggled a bit with the tight defence, but we moved around the ball and it worked effectively,” explained Moriyasu. “In the second half we made it more dynamic using more approach play with the ball and the players and that led to our three goals in the second half. We could have done some more combinations and forward passes forward and I’d like to improve that for the next match.”
“Looking at our performance both in attack and defence we need to improve more,” admitted Japan’s coach.
Turkmenistan’s coach Yazguly Hojageldiyev said he was satisfied with his team in spite of the narrow defeat. “The overall result is surprising for us,” said Hojageldiyev. “We knew that the Japanese team would control the ball a lot, but well done to the guys. They did their best. In the first half we showed a really good performance, but in the second half with bad luck it was a bit of a loss of concentration.”
Group E will resume on Sunday as Japan play Oman and Turkmenistan face their regional rivals Uzbekistan.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1580198154labto1580198154ofdlr1580198154owedi1580198154sni@o1580198154fni1580198154