Japan comes from behind to draw with Uzbekistan


Shinji Okazaki in action against Uzebekistan in Tashikent on Sept. 6

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (majirox news) — Japan came from behind after conceding an early goal to draw against Uzbekistan in a World Cup qualifying match here Sept. 6 (Sept. 7 Japan time).

Shinji Okazaki equalized with a diving header in the 64th minute after Japan had given away a goal to Server Djeparov after just eight minutes.

Japan collected a vital away point from the draw. Japan and Uzbekistan lead Group C with both teams gaining four points from two games following Japan’s last-minute win over North Korea in Tokyo last week.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni remains unbeaten after 15 matches since taking over last year.

Japan struggled for much of the match, with the home team dominating play in front of a supportive Tashkent crowd. However, the Asian Champions kept in touch and often looked dangerous when counter-attacking.

Japan’s next qualifying match is against Tajikistan in Osaka on Oct. 11.

In the other Group C match, North Korea opened its account with a 1-0 at home against Tajikistan.

Each team in the group will play home and away, with the top two teams going on to the next round of qualifying.

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