Shoya Nakajima’s double, both at the end of each half, has secured a win for Japan over Vietnam at the 2016 Asian Football Council U-23 Championship at Malaysia’s Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday.
Vietnam players had strong defense in the first half with good coordination of captain Que Ngoc Hai at right back.
Close blocks by Vietnam’s midfielders have pushed Japanese players to switch from short to long passes.
However, it was short passes that led to a goal by Nakajima in the 43rd minute, after he got a pass from Yamanaka. It was also Yamanaka who blocked the view of Vietnam’s goalkeeper Phi Minh Long and several defenders for Nakajima’s shot.
In the 73rd minute, the ball hit Vietnam’s net for the second time. But a goal was not acknowledged as Nishino had been offside.
Two minutes later, Coach Toshiya Miura sent midfielder Duy Manh to the field in an effort to minimize losing goals for Vietnam.
However, poor coordination in extra minutes led to the second losing goal for Vietnam as Nakajima got a good pass from Asano and shot past several Vietnam’s defenders and goalkeeper Minh Long.
After two rounds, Japan maintains its Group I's leading position with 6 points, followed by Vietnam and Malaysia each with three points.
In the last round, Vietnam will play Macau while Malaysia faces Japan on Tuesday (March 31).
A total of 43 teams entered the qualification tournament and were drawn into ten groups of five or four teams. The ten group winners and best five runners-up from all groups will be qualified for the final tournament.
The 2016 AFC U-23 Championship will be host in Qatar from January 12–30, 2016.