A professional display by Japan saw them open their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign on a positive note on Tuesday as they beat Myanmar 2-0 at the Thuwunna Stadium.
Shoya Nakajima ensured the visitors got off to an ideal start in the 16th minute with a fine individual effort, cutting onto his right foot on the edge of the box before curling away an effort that looped over Kyaw Zin Phyo and into goal.
Four minutes after the half-hour mark, their advantage was doubled after Ritsu Doan – having seen an initial effort blocked – regathered possession outside the area and clipped a lovely ball over the static Myanmar defence for Takumi Minamino to head home.
From then on, the Samurai Blue were never in danger of relinquishing a winning position and played out the remainder of the contest to move into second place in Group F, having played a game less than early pacesetters Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, after last week’s shock loss to Mongolia, Myanmar have already suffered two defeats in as many games and will need to get back on track quickly if they are to stay alive.
MYANMAR: Kyaw Zin Phyo, Zaw Lin, Soe Moe Kyaw, Zaw Min Tun, Nanda Kyaw, Zaw Ye Tun, Kaung Sithu, Hlaing Bo Bo, Aung Thu (Lwin Moe Aung 69’), Thein Than Win (Sithu Aung 46’), Than Paing (Suan Lam Mang 76’).
JAPAN: Shuichi Gonda, Hiroki Sakai, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo, Gaku Shibasaki, Kento Hashimoto, Ritsu Doan (Junya Ito 65’), Takumi Minamino (Musashi Suzuki 76’), Shoya Nakajima (Takefusa Kubo 81’), Yuya Osako.
Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation