Okazaki pair leads Japan to 4-2 win over NZ
TOKYO (AP) — Japan scored four times in 13 minutes and cruised past New Zealand 4-2 in a friendly on Wednesday.
Japan was 4-0 by the 17th minute.
Shinji Okazaki opened and closed Japan’s scoring burst, putting the host on the scoresheet just four minutes in when he took a pass from Shinji Kagawa and beat New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss.
“We played well for the first 30 minutes and were able to execute our game plan,” Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. “After that, our pace slowed and New Zealand made a game of it.”
Kagawa doubled the lead three minutes later from the penalty spot after he was hauled down in the area.
Masato Morishige’s header off a Keisuke Honda free kick in the 11th made it 3-0 and Okazaki widened the lead six minutes later with a left-footed shot that deflected in off Moss’ hands.
“I was able to score early when we had a lot of chances,” Okazaki said. “We had some issues as the game went on and there are some areas where we need to do better.”
New Zealand, which failed to qualify for the World Cup, got both goals from Chris Wood, in the 39th and with 15 minutes left.
Japan was without injured midfielders Makoto Hasebe and Atsuto Uchida, and forward Yoichiro Kakitani.
Zaccheroni’s side will play once more at home, on May 27 at Saitama against Cyprus, before going overseas for a World Cup training camp.
Japan’s World Cup group includes Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia.