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16/01/2010

Nadeshiko Japan draw with Chile

The Nadeshiko Japan women’s team battled to a 1-1 draw with hosts Chile thanks to Azusa Iwashimizu’s second-half equalizer in the Bicenntenial Women’s Cup 2010 friendly tournament on Friday evening.
With a different line-up from the one that beat Denmark in their first game, Japan enjoyed good possession and were able to play a fast-paced passing game, creating chances for forward Shinobu Ohno and midfielder Natsuko Hara.
But the Japanese team gave up the opening goal to the Chileans in the 15th minute when Maria Jose Rojas scored after a counterattack.
Japan rallied and came close when Ohno latched on to a feed from Aya Miyama in the 21st minute, but the Nippon TV Beleza forward hit the side netting.
Around the hour mark, Japan coach Norio Sasaki brought on forwards Mami Yamaguchi and Megumi Takase, who was making her debut.
The move helped his side accelerate their attack, and in the 64th minute Iwashimizu connected with a corner from Miyama to level the scores.
Two minutes later, Japan had a golden opportunity to go ahead when Yamaguchi was brought down in the box. Miyama took the spot kick, but the Chile goalkeeper reacted well to deny her shot.
The Japanese women continued to attack but their opponents held firm.
Sasaki commented, “It was down to us rather than our opponents. I don’t think they threatened us so much, but we couldn’t beat them. It was a good lesson for our players.”
Japan will next play Colombia on January 21 before meeting Argentina on January 23.