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13/11/2010

Japan beat Kyrgyzstan to win group in Asian Games

The Japan Under-21s downed Kyrgyzstan 3-0 to top Group A with three straight wins in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Saturday.

Midfielder Kyohei Noborizato, who turned 20 on the day, scored twice.
In Tuesday’s Round of 16, Japan will play India, who finished third in Group D with a 1-0-2 win-draw-loss record behind Qatar and Kuwait.
Having secured their berth in the knockout stage with their first two wins, Japan U-21 boss Takashi Sekizuka changed his team around for their third and final group match.
But that didn’t affect their performance, and Noborizato put the young Japanese side ahead five minutes into the game, connecting with a cross from the right.
The Kawasaki Frontale midfielder added a second with a penalty in the 61st minute that put Japan 2-0 up, and Takamitsu Toyama also scored from the spot in the 79th minute.
“We had qualified for the next stage, but playing an international game is a precious experience,” said Sekizuka, who played all his players during the group stage. “Before the game, I told our players to play Japanese football.”
“I changed the team around and assessed how much the players understood our game. I’m satisfied with the way we played and the result, especially the fact that we kept a clean sheet in all three games.”
The former Kawasaki Frontale manager added, “After this game, we will be in the elimination stage. We want to become united and take the games one at a time.”
Noborizato said, “I was given a chance to play as a starting member on my birthday and wanted to use the opportunity to show my game. I’m happy that I did something to help our team  win.”
China finished second in Group A with six points, followed by Malaysia (3) – who also qualified for next round – and Kyrgyzstan (0).
From Group B, winners Iran, runners-up Turkmenistan and third-placed Vietnam advanced to the Round of 16, while DPR Korea and Korea Republic qualified from Group C. From Group E, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Uzbekistan moved on to next round while Oman and Thailand made it from Group F.
The Round of 16 will take place on Monday and Tuesday, and the quarterfinals on Friday. The semifinals will be held on November 23 with the finals and the third-place playoff slated for November 25.