Turkmenistan test an eye-opener for Japan

Published on: 12 January 2019

Abu Dhabi: Their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 opener against Turkmenistan was an eye opener and Japan, says defender Yuto Nagatomo, are now better placed to deal with the forthcoming challenges.

Four-time champions Japan had to come from behind to defeat Turkmenistan 3-2 in their Group F tie on Wednesday and Nagatomo said it was a lesson well learnt.

"We struggled against Turkmenistan but it was very important for us players to know what the AFC Asian Cup is," said the 32-year-old, who plays for Turkish club Galatasaray.

"We will use the experience gained against Turkmenistan to good effect. We have had three days to prepare for our next match against Oman (on Sunday) and we are confident of a better showing."

Nagatomo said Japan had watched Oman's 2-1 defeat to Uzbekistan and know that it will be another tough encounter at the Zayed Sports City Stadium.

"We saw a recording of the match and we know that they are very good in counter attacks and have speedy players. Oman will be a difficult team to beat.

"Having said that, we are also a good team and we have the players who can get us a positive result. We will prepare accordingly for Oman."

A win would seal the Samurai Blue's place in the Round of 16 but Nagatomo said the team will approach the match calmly.

"It doesn't make a difference whether we qualify after the second or third match as long as we qualify for the knockout stage."

Source: the-afc.com