Zaccheroni rues 'poor' Japan start

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni believes his side's slow start ultimately cost them in Tuesday's 1-1 draw against Uzbekistan in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The skipper looks to drive Japan forward.

Japan, who were unimpressive in last Friday's 1-0 win over DPR Korea, looked equally lacklustre in the first half as their opponents showed much more determination, and duly took the lead through captain Server Djeparov.

However, the Japanese were stung into action in the second period and equalised courtesy of a Shinji Okazaki header.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Zaccheroni admitted his team were poor in the opening 45, but was also quick to give credit to Uzbekistan.

"[We] could have done a little better but obviously we had a poor first half, while the Uzbekistan players ran a lot, so the distance between players was often offset.

"We deserved very little in the first half, much better in the second.

"Uzbekistan are a good team and they played well.

"We could not play our game, we needed changes, and they generated an improvement."

Likewise, Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima agreed that Japan's second half had been much better than the performance in the first.

"We gave [Uzbekistan] a lot of space [in the first half].

"However, we were able to impose our rhythm on them in the second half."

Having both won their opening qualifiers, Japan and Uzbekistan are now joint top in Group C on four points, while DPR Korea are third on three points after beating Tajikistan 1-0 on Tuesday.

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