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 Japan 2 - 1 Uzbekistan 

January 18, 2019
United Arab Emirates

Japan 2

1 1H 1
1 2H 0

1 Uzbekistan

Yoshinori Muto (44')
Tsukasa Shiotani (54')

Scoring  Shomurotov
Yoshinori Muto
Tsukasa Shiotani
Cautions Krimetz

  Daniel Schmidt; Sei Muroya, Genta Miura, Tomoaki Makino, Sho Sasaki; Junya Ito, Toshihiro Aoyama, Tsukasa Shiotani, Takashi Inui (Genki Haraguchi 81); Koya Kitagawa (Tomiyasu 90+1'), Yoshinori Muto (Wataru Endo 85')


An all-reserve Samurai Blue put on a very solid showing against Uzbekistan on Thursday, claiming victory thanks to the contributions of a "local favourite" whose contributions to Al-Ain earned him his own cheering section at Kalifa bin Zayad Stadium. Tsukasa Shiotani, who plays his club football in this same stadium, provided the winning goal in a match which -- while it also served as a demonstration of Uzbekistan's high quality -- was ultimately a showcase for Japan's roster depth and diversity.

Unfortunately, time does not permit a detailed discussion of the contest, today, so we will have to put off an extended discussion of the plusses and minuses on display in this match. For now, suffice it to say that Japan's "second string" (with perhaps two or three exceptions) gave coach Hajime Moriyasu a compelling argument for their own inclusion in the starting lineup against Saudi Arabia, on Monday. Though Shiotani and Yoshinori Muto may have claimed the biggest headlines, Junya Ito, Daniel Schmidt Takashi Inui and others also left Moriyasu with a demonstration of their capacity to add another dimension to the Samurai Blue playbook.