Japan dashed Qatar’s hopes of reaching the play-offs as the two teams drew 1-1 on Wednesday in the Asian final qualifying round for the 2010 World Cup.
The Japanese, who have already qualified for the finals along with Australia, took a 1-0 lead only two minutes into the game at the Yokohama stadium.
Defender Atsuto Uchida sent a cross from the right into the Qatar area, where Ahmed Ali Al-Binali failed to clear, instead sending the ball into his own net.
In the ninth minute Japan forward Keiji Tamada was free, but his shot was saved before the rebound was sent wide.
Forward Ali Hassan Yahya Afif was lively for the visitors, while midfielder Mohammed Abdulraab Alyazidi missed their best chance in the 41st minute, blazing wide.
Shortly before the break, Brazilian-born defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka netted off a rebound for Japan, but it was ruled out for a foul.
But in the 53rd minute, the visitors made it 1-1 when Yahya Afif scored from the spot after Magid Mohamed Hassan was brought down by skipper Yuji Nakazawa in the area.
After Saint-Etienne midfielder Daisuke Matsui replaced Yuki Abe, the Japanese seemed to regain their rhythm and were encamped in the Qatar half for most of the second period, but they failed to take several chances.
“I wanted to show a good game in our last home game. Each player did very well, but we couldn’t do well as a team, I am very disappointed,” said Japan coach Takeshi Okada.
“I won’t forget this disappointment. First of all, I want to beat Australia away,” added Okada, who watched the game from the stands after being red-carded in Tashkent last week.
Despite seeing their World Cup dreams snuffed out, Qatar’s French coach Bruno Metsu appeared satisfied with his team.
“It was an excellent performance, we created many chances. If we created so many chances like that, we could have beaten Japan. I’m proud of my team, the quality of our play, motivation and mentality,” said Metsu.
“This is a young team. I’m looking forward to the team’s future,” he added.
Qatar ended their campaign with one win, three draws and four defeats for six points, while Japan will play Australia away in their last game on June 17.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!