Catania striker Takayuki Morimoto scored twice to lead Japan to a 2-1 victory over Guatemala on Tuesday and a second friendly win in four days.
The Japanese, who avenged their loss in the World Cup by beating Paraguay on Saturday, took a 1-0 lead when defender Yuto Nagatomo sent a cross from the left for Morimoto’s header in the 12th minute.
In the 20th minute, CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda sent the ball through to Shinji Kagawa, who produced the link pass in the area for Morimoto’s second.
“When we played against Paraguay, I also received nice crosses from Yuto, so I was able to hit the ball very well,” said Morimoto, who missed out on his hat-trick when he hit wide twice later in the game.
“I was able to take a good position in front of the goal mouth for the second goal. For me, it is important to take a starting position for Catania and continue to play games in Italy,” he added.
Guatemala pulled one back two minutes later with their first shot on goal.
Midfielder Carlos Rafael Castillo Rosales snatched the ball from Hideo Hashimoto and sent it to the front, where forward Mario Rafael Rodriguez fired a sizzling shot.
The Japanese had the initiative for most of the match but neither side could score in the second half.
Japan’s new Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni watched from the stands as he has yet to obtain a work visa. His first stint will be friendlies in October against Argentina at home and South Korea away.
“Japan scored the first two goals and kept the lead in a very good style. They were able to avoid a risky play. I just felt the players were very tired after the second game in four days,” said Zaccheroni.
“My biggest goal is the Asian Cup in January, but we will have two friendly games against Argentina and South Korea. I want to have a good game against them, because the Asian Cup will be a very tough competition,” he added.
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