Japan draw 1-1 with Venezuela in Sapporo
Japan drew 1-1 with Venezuela in a Kirin Challenge Cup friendly international at the Sapporo Dome on Wednesday.
Endo Yasuhito’s 15th-minute goal was cancelled out in the 62nd minute by Nicolas Fedor.
Fedor could have made his mark in the sixth minute when he ran into the box and forced Japan goalkeeper Kawashima Eiji into a smart save.
Endo then tried his luck with a 20-meter left-foot shot, but he just missed the target.
However, he found it with a quarter of an hour gone and put Japan 1-0 up. Honda Keisuke played a beautiful little ball into the path of right back Komano Yuichi who nutmegged his marker and cut the ball back for Endo to steer home from near the penalty spot.
Honda then had a good effort from the edge of the box tipped on to the post by Venezuela keeper Dani Hernandez, while Alexander Gonzalez saw an angled 25-meter drive flash past the post.
Okazaki Shinji shot wide after a sweeping move by Japan and Nagatomo Yuto tried his luck from an impossible angle but still forced Hernandez to make a save.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni replaced Inoha Masahiko with Mizumoto Hiroki at halftime.
Two minutes after the break, Fedor was gifted the ball but fired high, while Yoshida Maya had to make a sharp tackle to deny Mario Rondon.
Venezuela penetrated into the box again in the 50th minute, but the ball clipped Mizumoto and Japan were able to clear the danger.
Japan were coming under pressure from Venezuela, while Japan weren’t making the most of their chances.
They paid the price in the 62nd minute when substitute Josef Martinez, who had only been on the pitch for a minute, sped upfield and unleashed a shot that was saved and fell to Fedor, who swivelled as he fell and tapped the ball in to make the score 1-1.
Honda responded with a couple of good efforts, including a sweet scissor kick that he was unable to keep down, and Nagatomo forced Hernandez into a decent save.
The best chance for Japan to go ahead fell to Kagawa Shinji in the 75th minute. Komano drove a ball across the face of the goal and Kagawa had an empty net to aim at as he side-footed the ball. But he drilled his shot into the ground and the ball bounced over the bar.
Both teams made changes and kept attacking, but the entertaining match ended 1-1.