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Japan thrashes India 6-0 in Asian Cup qualifier

By Staff
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Yokohama, Feb 22 (UNI) A five-goal blitz in last fifteen minutes enabled World ranked 18th, Japan thrash India 6-0 in the first qualifying match of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup here today.

Japan, qualifier for this year's World Cup, taught few lessons in the game to their rivals ranked 118 in a tie, which turned out to be a mismatch.

The Indians were just lucky to end the 90 minutes encounter with 6-0 drubbing thanks to some superb goalkeeping by Sandip Nandy otherwise the scoreline would have been much higher.

The winners led 1-0 at half time.

Indians did lot of running around, without purpose, with their skipper and striker Bhaichung Bhutia trying few solo attempts but he did not get enough support from his team mates.

India's first and only incisive attempt at goal came when a curling free-kick from Bhutia just missed the target and this happened in the 28th minute.

Striker Shinji Ono gave the hosts lead in the 32nd minute, as he captalised on a defensive error to score Japan's 100th goal since Brazilian Zico took charge in 2002.

However the Japanse side, which looked disjointed in the first half, came out all guns blazing after the break and the Indians could not match the pace and it was after the 75th minute that the floodgates opened.

Striker Tatsuhiko Kubo slammed a late brace while Seiichiro Maki, Takashi Fukunishi and substitute Hisato Sato chipped in one goal each to complete the Indian rout.

''It was nice to score our 100th goal since Zico became coach,'' said Ono, 'It's always important to score the first goal but it took the team some time to find any rhthym. We played a lot better in the second half and we got the start we wanted.'' India are in Group ''A'' along with Japan, Saudi Arabia and Yeman.

The top two from each of the six groups qualify for the 2007 Asian Cup, to be jointly hosted by South East Nations of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

UNI XC HSB SC RN2046

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