【Match Report】Japan Beach Soccer National Team clinch top spot in group with 9-3 victory over Lebanon - AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup Thailand 2023
22 March 2023
On Tuesday 21 March, the Japan Beach Soccer National Team faced the Lebanon Beach Soccer National Team in their third group stage match of the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup Thailand 2023, where they scored six goals in the third period to win the match 9-3.
Japan took the lead in the seventh minute, when OBA Takaaki scored the opening goal with a bicycle kick. Oba assisted the goal of AKAGUMA Takuya just two minutes later to double the lead.
In the second period, the Lebanese offence started to create more chances upfront, but it was the player-coach himself who made his presence felt on the pitch to blow away any concerns for Japan. Moreira Ozu, who was controlling the game from behind, made a well-timed run upfront to connect with a pass delivered by KIBUNE Yuki and struck a shot that found the back of the met.
Towards the end of the second period, Moreira's loud rebuke rang out against goalkeeper KAWAI Yusuke, who fired a shot from his own half, as the player-coach later reflected, “When the game is going our way, I wanted him to possess the ball. So instead of shooting, I told him to carry the ball upfront. After the second period, I went back to the bench and told everyone to be more clever to manage the game.”
Japan started the third period by showing a variety of attacks and scored a goal in the second minute when goalkeeper SHIBAMOTO Shinya struck a powerful shot to the left of the goal. Despite conceding their first goal in the fourth minute from a close-range free kick, Oba scored soon after with an overhead finish to dishearten the Lebanese players.
About 30 seconds later, Kibune, making his first appearance at the Asian Cup, scored the team's sixth goal with his left foot, and UESATO Takumi added his first goal of the tournament as Japan finished their group league campaign with three straight wins.
The tournament also serves as a qualifier for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2023™ to be held this autumn, and four slots are allocated to Asia, including the host country UAE. With their ticket to the World Cup on the line, Japan will face Kuwait in the quarterfinals on Thursday 23 March.
Coaches and Players' Comments
MOREIRA Ozu, Player-Coach (Tokyo Verdy BS)
Kibune delivered a great pass when I made a diagonal run into the opposing half, which allowed me to score a goal. It was a play we had worked on in our trainings, but I'd like to see other players doing it instead of me. I was stern with the team during the game because I wanted them to be more clever when we are winning. We will continue to face more difficult opponents, so we want to make sure we are up to the challenge.
TABATA Teruki, Assistant Coach (Veertien Mie BS)
First of all, I am happy that we were able to win the game. The players have performed well so far, but we have failed to convert many opportunities in our attacking third, so that is something we need to address and improve ahead of our next match. We will continue to analyse our opponents and approach the match carefully, but rather than trying something new, we will fight with the intention of putting out what we have built up over the years.
FP #3 KIBUNE Yuki (Averdade Kumamoto BS)
In the World Cup qualifiers, the pressure to “not lose” is stronger than any other international competitions, and we can sense the opponents’ strong desire to “beat Japan and qualify for the World Cup.” I am glad that I was able to mark my fifth international goal in such high pressure situation. I will continue to focus on the game in front of me.
FP #5 UESATO Takumi (Tokyo Verdy BS)
There were times when we couldn't play in our pace because of the aggression showed by our opponents, but every time we scored we were able to pull the game back into our own hands. I think we were able to show a total team effort to win this match. (Reflecting on his goal) Shusei-san delivered a perfect pass, so I just had to tap the ball into the net. I am thankful for his assist. I am proud and grateful to be able to play for Japan on the big stage of the World Cup qualifiers.
FP #7 OBA Takaaki (Loewe Yokohama)
It is important to score the first goal in any given match and our coaches have always told me to be aggressive in the attacking third, which allowed me to score the opening goal in this match. I had a good feel for my touches today, so I made a conscious effort to play aggressively. I have had some injuries, but my condition and game intuition are getting better, and I feel that the team is improving with every match, so we will continue to fight with a winner's mentality.
AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup Thailand 2023
Tournament Date: Thu. 16 - Sun. 26 March 2023
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