Japan notched a second consecutive win in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Thursday after defeating a hapless Mongolia 6-0 at the Saitama Stadium 2002.
It took the Samurai Blue 22 minutes to open the scoring when Junya Ito was released on the overlap and floated a good cross into the area, where it was met by a powerful header from Takumi Minamino into the back of the net.
Seven minutes later, they doubled their advantage after a goal-mouth scramble from a corner; Wataru Endo’s close-range header was parried by Ariunbold Batsaikhan back into the danger area and Hiroki Sakai was on hand to help it on for Maya Yoshida to head over the line from a couple of yards out.
A third goal arrive three minutes after the half-hour mark when Ito combined well with Minamino to break free down the right following a clever one-two and slide a precise ball across the face of goal, leaving Yuto Nagatomo with a simple finishing into the unguarded net.
Ito was proving to be an unstoppable force down the wing and he weighed in with another assist five minutes before the break, receiving possession from Sakai’s neat backheel and swinging in another inch-perfect cross that was emphatically headed home by Kensuke Nagai.
Japan could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal after the break, but they continued to push forward in search of more goals and added to their tally in the 57th minute, when Shoya Nakajima’s corner to the near post was glanced home by Endo.
And, with eight minutes left on the clock, the hosts added the icing on the cake as Daichi Kamada notched his first international goal; heading home on the rebound from close range after Batsaikhan could only parry a fierce drive from Endo up into the air.
JAPAN: Shuichi Gonda, Hiroki Sakai (Koki Anzai 58’), Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo, Gaku Shibasaki, Wataru Endo, Junya Ito, Takumi Minamino (Daichi Kamada 61’), Shoya Nakajima, Kensuke Nagai (Genki Haraguchi 70’).
MONGOLIA: Ariunbold Batsaikhan, Dolgoon Amaraa, Torbat Daginaa, Bilguun Ganbold, Tsedenbal Norjmoo, Davaajav Battor, Tsend-Ayush Khurelbaatar, Narmandakh Artag, Baljinnyam Batbold (Jansyerik Maratkhan 78’), Enkhbileg Purevdorj (Naranbold Nyam-Osor 70’), Mijiddorj Oyuunbaatar (Sundorj Janchiv 87’).
Photo credit: Japan Football Association