9/30/2018 4:20:43 PM (GMT+3)

Japan through to semis, qualify for FIFA U17 World Cup

Japan through to semis, qualify for FIFA U17 World Cup

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Toyama Shoji's 81st minute strike earned Japan a place in the AFC U-16 Championship semifinals and their ticket to the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup after they edged Oman 2-1 in their last eight tie at the National Stadium here on Sunday.

Japan will play the winners of the Australia-Indonesia quarterfinal in the last four on Thursday after overcoming a spirited Oman who impressed with their fighting performance.

It was a battle of former champions at the National Stadium, with both teams having previously won two titles each but Group A winners Japan held the lion’s share of possession in the early minutes but hardly tested Omani goalkeeper Mitham Ali Al Ajmi.

Japan’s first clear chance came in the 14th minute, when Nishikawa Jun sent a brilliant through pass behind the Oman backline, setting up Naruoka Hikaru who had just the ‘keeper to beat but his shot to the bottom right missed the target by mere inches.

However, the East Asians were ahead just a minute later with Araki Ryotaro lobbing the ball over the Oman defenders to find a surging Jun, who beat the offside trap and forced Al Ajmi to parry his effort, only for sliding defender Issa Khalfan Al Naabi to steer it into the empty goalmouth. (Courtesy: AFC)