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Japan whip India again

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Last updated on: September 08, 2004 21:48 IST

Japan overcame stiff resistance from India in the first half and then played a strong second session to coast to a 4-0 victory in a power cut-marred Asian Zone Group C pre-World Cup football match in Kolkata on Wednesday.

The Indians who held the formidable Japanese goalless till the 44th minute, looked rudderless after the breather as the visitors almost toyed with the home team's defence to notch their fourth victory in as many matches in the group.

After Takayuki Suzuki drew first blood a short while before the break, Shinji Ono, Takashi Fukunishi and skipper Tsuneyasu Miyamoto found the target in the second session at the Salt Lake stadium.

The Indians, who suffered a 0-7 humiliation in the first leg tie at Saitama, are already out of contention for a World Cup berth, having accrued only three points from four outings.

The start of play in the second half was delayed by about half an hour due to power failure at the venue.

As the stadium plunged into darkness, Match Commissioner Manirul Islam of Bangladesh seemed at wits end and even called up the FIFA authorities.

Power supply was restored after 22 minutes.

The Asian champions, who faced stiff resistance from the Indians in the first half, had to wait till the 45th minute to break the deadlock.

Brazil-born Alessandro Santos did the spadework from the left, outwitting skipper Debjit Ghosh and Mahesh Gawli with deft footwork and took a prompt shot which was parried away by a diving custodian Sandip Nandy. But the ball went only as far as Suzuki, who found the net with a low shot from just outside the six-yard box.

The Indians played their hearts out in the first half, matching the formidable Japanese in ball possession though the visitors had a distinct edge.

The Indian defenders waged a grim battle to cut out the fast paced Japanese moves, which were spearheaded by Shinji Ono and Nauhiro Takahara, with Santos playing the game-maker's role to perfection from the left.

Cheered on by the large crowd, the Indians launched sporadic counter attacks and caused danger in the Japanese territory on a couple of occasions.

Early in the game, medio S Venkatesh, who had a good match, fed the ball to Jatin Bisht, but the latter's feeble attempt went straight to Japan custodian Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi.

About a quarter of an hour into the game, Venkatesh, receiving a pass from Sameer Naik, launched on a long solo but then took a wayward shot which sailed over the crossbar.

The Japanese got the first scoring chance in the seventh minute when Santos did the spadework for Suzuki, who unleashed a prompt header but Debjit Ghosh saved the situation by heading the ball out for a corner.

The complexion of the match changed in the second half as the Japanese established a stranglehold on the proceedings.

In the 57th minute, a Suzuki header narrowly missed the far post as the Indian defence heaved a sigh of relief. But within two minutes, the Japanese made the scoreline 2-0 after Venkatesh fouled Takahara and Ono took a dazzling 30-yard free kick which went one bounce into the net, to the right of Nandy, who was beaten comprehensively.

The Indians tried to stage a comeback and in the 64th minute, Jatin Bisht's free-kick was headed down by Debjit Ghosh inside the opponent box but Abhishek Yadav's attempt rebounded off a Japanese defender.

The Indians appealed for a penalty claiming the defender had handled the ball but Syrian referee Basel Hajjar rejected their demand.

The visitors pumped in one more goal in the 71st minute as Tetsuhiko Kubo despatched an angular pass from top of the box to Santos and the Brazilian lobbed towards an unmarked Takashi Fukunishi who headed in.

Two minutes from the final whistle, the team struck again following a corner by Vitsuo Ogasawara, who had substituted Masashi Notoyama a little earlier. Yuji Nakazawa met the curling flag kick with a header and Miyamoto finished with a fine right footer.

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