AFC U23 Championships

Japan U-23 Seal Knockout Spot with Win Over UAE

Japan U-23 secured their spot in the quarter-finals of the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup on Friday by defeating the United Arab Emirates U-23 2-0 at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium. This victory guaranteed them a top two finish in Group B.

Seiji Kimura and Sota Kawasaki scored the goals, maintaining Japan’s perfect record after two matches, with the young Samurai Blue taking on South Korea for top spot of Group B on Monday.

The outcome also means that the UAE, who will play against China next, cannot advance to the knockout stages.

Despite making seven changes to the lineup that won against China, Go Oiwa’s men emerged victorious. Kimura, one of the new additions, missed a chance eight minutes into the game with a header.

Japan continued to press forward, with Hiroki Sekine and Ryotaro Araki coming close to scoring. Kein Sato’s diving header was saved by UAE’s goalkeeper Khalid Tawhid, but from the ensuing corner, Japan took the lead as Sagan Tosu defender Kimura found the net.

Japan maintained their attacking momentum, with Sekine and Fuki Yamada posing threats. UAE had few opportunities, with Benfica B goalie Leo Kokubo making a crucial save before halftime.

In the second half, Japan doubled their lead through Kawasaki’s header, assisted by Ayumu Ohata. Despite late chances for Japan to extend their lead, the score remained 2-0, securing the victory for Japan.