Japan struggled to overcome a gritty India side in an Asian Cup qualifier interrupted by floodlight failure and a stray dog on the pitch. For the first time coach Ivica Osim gave starts to Gamba Osaka striker Ryuji Bando and Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Kengo Nakamura and the pair responded by scoring the goals that saw off the South Asian Football Federation champions. Bando scored twice before half-time and Nakamura added a third with a rasping drive late on in what was ultimately another frustrating performance by the Keluaran Sgp Blue Samurai. Their final Asian Cup qualifier takes place against Saudi Arabia in Sapporo on November 15.
October 4, Ghana
Japan went down 1-0 to Ghana in their Kirin World Challenge match in front of more than 52,000 fans in Yokohama. Substitute midfielder Draman Haminu scored the only goal of the game for Ghana in the 73rd minute. Ivica Osim gave debuts to Hiroki Mizumoto, Kengo Nakamura, Satoru Yamagishi and Ryuji Bando. Yamagishi came closest to scoring when he hit the post in the 55th minute following a through ball from Sanfrecce Hiroshima striker Hisato Sato.
J-League News: Urawa capitalise as Gamba slip up
Urawa Reds have opened a shock five point gap at the top of the J-League as Gamba Osaka suffer a case of the late season jitters. Former league leaders Gamba have picked up just one point in the last three matches and Urawa have taken full advantage, picking up maximum points to move five clear with just seven games remaining.
Kawasaki Frontale are the only other team in title contention – they are two points behind Gamba in third place, where they have been for much of the season. Shimizu S-Pulse and Kashima Antlers round out the …