Japan continue to stutter ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup as they were beaten 2-1 by Ukraine in a friendly at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne on Tuesday.
Following last Friday’s uninspiring 1-1 draw against Mali, and having won just two of their previous seven outings, the Samurai Blue were hoping to get back to winning ways against European opposition in Liege.
However, it was Ukraine who broke the deadlock in the 21st minute after Yaroslav Rakitskiy was left with too much time and space outside the box to unleash a ferocious shot, which took a deflection off Naomichi Ueda past Eiji Kawashima.
Japan managed to level the scores four minutes before the break, as Tomoaki Makino was left unmarked inside the area and met Gaku Shibasaki’s freekick with a deft header into the back of the net.
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But, in the 69th minute, Yehven Konoplyanka’s terrific run down the left caused all sorts of problems for the opposition defence and the ball eventually broke to Oleksandr Karavayev, who made no mistake in firing home to win it for Ukraine.
JAPAN: Eiji Kawashima, Gotoku Sakai, Naomichi Ueda, Tomoaki Makino, Yuto Nagatomo, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Makoto Hasebe (Kento Misao 80’), Keisuke Honda (Yuya Kubo 65’), Gaku Shibasaki (Shoya Nakajima 80’), Genki Haraguchi (Takashi Usami 88’), Kenyu Sugimoto (Yu Kobayashi 56’).
UKRAINE: Andriy Pyatov, Bohdan Butko (Oleksandr Karavayev 62’), Ivan Ordets, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Eduard Sobol (Mykola Matviyenko 62’), Taras Stepanenko, Marlos (Ivan Petryak 90+2’), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Ruslan Rotan 80’), Ruslan Malinovskiy (Vitaliy Buyalskiy 61’), Yehven Konoplyanka (Vitkor Tsyhanov 79’), Artem Besedin.