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25/07/2013

Japan edge Australia 3-2 in EAFF East Asian Cup

  Osako Yuya scored his second goal of the match 12 minutes from time to earn Japan a 3-2 victory over Australia in the EAFF East Asian Cup in Hwaseong, Korea Republic, on Thursday.
  Goals from Saito Manabu and Osako had given Japan a 2-0 lead before Australia scored twice in the space of four minutes late in the second half to level the scores.
  The result put Japan on top of the standings in the four-nation, round-robin tournament. Japan have four points from two games, China and Korea Republic have two and Australia one.
  In the final day of action on Sunday, Japan will face Korea Republic, while China will take on Australia.
  Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni made wholesale changes to his lineup on Thursday, fielding a completely different team from the one that drew with China on Sunday.
  The game started slowly and there were few chances in the first quarter of the match. Saito did well on the right of the box to set up a volley for Yamada Hiroki in the eighth minute, but his effort was off target.
  In the 23rd minute, Osako played a nice ball to Sagan Tosu forward Toyoda Yohei in the box but his attempt was denied by a strong tackle from Jade North.
  Japan took the lead two minutes later when Saito dribbled past three defenders on the edge of the box and placed a neat shot past Australia goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic.
  Matthew McKay then did well to set up a header for Mark Milligan but he couldn’t find the target, while McKay himself came close with a powerful volley shortly before halftime.
  In the 37th minute, Toyoda was presented with a golden opportunity to score after losing his markers in the box, but he sent his header straight into the arms of the Australian keeper.
  In the final minute of the half, Toyoda turned provider for Takahashi Hideto, but his header went over the bar.
  In the second half, Japan continued to frustrate Australia with their passing game and in the 56th minute Osako doubled Japan’s lead with a slick finish after a neat set-up by Toyoda.
  But Australia rallied hard and kept goalkeeper Gonda Shuichi busy around the hour mark with a close-range shot from Milligan and a longer effort from Ruben Zadkovich.
  Holger Osieck’s side pulled a goal back in the 75th minute when Mitchell Duke fired in a clever feed from Mitch Nichols and the scores were level three minutes later when Australia substitute Tomi Juric was also set up by Nichols and fired home from the edge of the box.
  But Japan responded within a minute as Osako controlled a Toyoda pass and finished strongly to put Japan 3-2 ahead.
  Japan brought on defender Kurihara Yuzo for Chiba Kazuhiko of Sanfrecce Hiroshima – one of five debutants on the day – to add more security to the backline as Japan held on for the win.