Doha. Coach Alberto Zaccheroni felt Japan performance in their hard fought 2-1 victory over Syria on Thursday provided the kind of indication that the Samurai Blue are capable of going far at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011.
The Japanese were desperate to pick up three points after escaping with a 1-1 draw in their opening Group B against Jordan and they got off to the ideal start at Qatar Sports Club Stadium when skipper Makoto Hasebe struck in the 35th minute.
However drama was to ensue in the second half as Eiji Kawashima was sent off in the 75th minute for a foul on substitute Sanharib Malki Sabah inside the area and Firas Al Khatib converted the resulting penalty.
Japan then hit back with a penalty of their own seven minutes later before Syria too ended a hot tempered encounter with 10 men as Nadim Sabag was sent off in stoppage time.
The victory moves Japan onto four points and victory in their final game against Saudi Arabia on Monday will send the three time champions through to the quarter finals
It was not too tough a match for us. We scored in the first half and this was decisive because it was a totally one side game for Japan said Zaccheroni. Even when we were down to 10 players we performed like we had 11.
The result against Syria was fair and I feel Japan have the potential to go far in the Asian Cup so I am looking forward to seeing more improvement and development from us.
One of Japan major problems against Jordan in their first match of the tournament was a lack of cutting edge in the final third.
They certainly looked more dangerous against Syria whilst they also maintained their stamina throughout even when six minutes of stoppage time was announced with their opponents desperately searching for an equaliser.
We performed very well and I am very satisfied added Zaccheroni. Syria won their first match so they had good momentum but they played very defensively against us.
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