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25/07/2012

Nadeshiko beat Canada in Olympic opener

The Japan women’s team got off to a winning start in their Olympic campaign on Wednesday, beating Canada 2-1 in their opening match in Coventry, England.

    Kawasumi Nahomi opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and Miyama Aya headed in the second in the 44th minute before Canada replied in the 55th minute through Melissa Tancredi.

    The Nadeshiko started slowly as Canada opted to play defensively and the world champions struggled to find their rhythm.
    Canada ace Christine Sinclair had a shot from outside the box in the ninth minute, but Kinga Yukari blocked her attempt. The Japanese players went on to defend well, denying their opponents any serious opportunities.
    The Japanese started to take control of the game and broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. Ohno Shinobu fed Sawa Homare and moved forward to get the return ball. Ohno then laid off the ball with her heel to Kawasumi, who finished off from inside the box.
    The opener allowed Japan more freedom, particularly down the left and Kumagai Saki came close in the 40th minute with a header from a cross by Kawasumi.
A minute before halftime, the Nadeshiko made it 2-0 when Miyama Aya beat goalkeeper Erin McLeod with a header off a Sameshima Aya cross.

    Six minutes into the second half, Nagasato Yuki came close to finding the target with a left-foot shot off a Kawasumi feed, but Canada defender Lauren Sesselmann cleared the ball from the goal-mouth.
Canada, guided by former New Zealand coach John Herdman, pulled a goal back in the 55th minute when Tancredi slotted home a Rhian Wilkinson cross from inside the box.
    But the Nadeshiko players kept control of the game and came close again with attempts from Nagasato around the hour mark and again six minutes later.
In the 78th minute, substitute forward Ando Kozue threatened the Canadian goal, but her shot was denied by a Canadian defender.
    Canada faced a setback five minutes from time when Candace Chapman had to leave the pitch with an injury after they had already made their three substitutions.