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Zambia 0-5 Japan: Ikeda's side open with impressive win
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Reuben Rosso-Powell
Press Association
Mina Tanaka, second left, scored one and was a constant menace for Japan (John Cowpland/AP)
Mina Tanaka, second left, scored one and was a constant menace for Japan (John Cowpland/AP)

Japan made an impressive start to their World Cup campaign as they strolled to a 5-0 Group C victory over Zambia at Waikato Stadium.

Futoshi Ikeda’s side made a positive start and twice went close in the early stages through Aoba Fujino, who saw one effort superbly saved by goalkeeper Catherine Musonda before seeing a second attempt at goal come back off the post.

Zambia struggled to get a foothold in the game and were saved by VAR in the 21st minute when Mina Tanaka’s close-range strike was ruled out for the narrowist of offsides.

Japan’s pressure finally told two minutes before the break when they took a deserved lead as Fujino’s whipped cross was finished with aplomb by Hinata Miyazawa.

Japan continued to dictate the game after the break and Tanaka had another goal chalked off for offside by VAR before technology again intervened after Japan were awarded a penalty when Musonda brought down Fujino but the decision was overturned for an offside in the build-up.

However, they did double their advantage 10 minutes into the second half when Jun Endo fed Tanaka to shoot beyond Musonda.

Tanaka turned creator in the 62nd minute as she set up Hinata Miyazawa and then Endo rifled one home across Musonda to  make it four.

There was more drama to come in stoppage time as Musonda conceded a penalty and was sent off and, after substitute goalkeeper Eunice Sakala turned Riko Ueki’s penalty onto the crossbar, it was ordered to be retaken for encroachment and Ueki calmly slotted home the re-take.


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