• FT

    Australia

    0

    China

    1

  • FT

    Japan

    1

    Bahrain

    0

  • FT

    South Korea

    0

    North Korea

    0

  • FT

    Oman

    2

    Thailand

    1

  • FT

    Jordan

    2

    Turkmenistan

    0

  • FT

    Lebanon

    1

    Singapore

    2

  • FT

    Iran

    2

    Kuwait

    0

  • FT

    Iraq

    0

    Qatar

    1

  • FT

    UAE

    1

    Syria

    3

  • FT

    Saudi Arabia

    4

    Uzbekistan

    0

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING - AFC

Saitama Stadium 2002, Japan

Referee: Ravshan Irmatov | Attendance: 51180

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Japan

  • Atsuto Uchida 90'

1 - 0

FT

Japan 1-0 Bahrain: Bizarre last-gasp winner

SAITAMA, Japan, June 22 (Reuters) - A freak late goal from defender Atsuto Uchida gave Japan a 1-0 home win over Bahrain in a World Cup qualifier played in monsoon conditions on Sunday.

Both sides had already secured their places in the final

round of Asian 2010 World Cup qualifiers, but Japan's victory in

rain-soaked Saitama meant they finished top of Group Two.

Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura had an early penalty

saved and Keisuke Honda missed an open goal moments before the

break after Yasuhito Endo's free kick had hit the crossbar.

Bahrain posed more of a threat in the second half with Japan

goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki needing to be alert to keep out fierce

drives from Abdullah Omar and Sayed Adnan.

Nakamura, making his 78th international appearance and

surpassing former team mate Hidetoshi Nakata to go fifth on

Japan's list, was at the heart of his side's best moves.

Japan almost paid for some woeful finishing and looked like

settling for second place behind the Gulf side in the group

standings until Uchida's 89th-minute fluke goal.

As Bahrain struggled to clear the ball, Uchida's

harmless-looking header back into the box bounced over Bahrain

goalkeeper Sayed Jaffer and into the back of the net, to the

surprise of Japan's players and 51,000 anorak-clad fans.

'The players never gave up and kept pressing for a goal,'

said Japan coach Takeshi Okada, who had been under fire after

his side were beaten 1-0 by Bahrain in March.

'We didn't play badly. We just need to be sharper with our

finishing. We lost a bit of rhythm in the second half but we

will improve.'

Japan finished with 13 points from their six matches with

Bahrain runners-up on 11 points in a group also involving Oman

and Thailand.

'We lost because of a defensive mistake,' said Bahrain's

Czech coach Milan Macala. 'But we achieved our goal of reaching

the last round of qualifiers so I'm happy.'

Nakamura, who required a pain-killing injection for a sore

ankle to play in last weekend's 3-0 away win over Thailand, said

Okada's new-look side would get better.

'The foundations are solid and the shape's there,' said

Nakamura. 'At this level you have to execute at speed to break

teams down. That's what we need to aim for.'

The final round of Asian qualifying matches begin in

September. The draw takes place in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Scoring Summary

  • Japan
  • Bahrain
 

Match Stats

  • Japan
  • Bahrain
0(0) Shots (on goal) 0(0)
0 Fouls 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Offsides 0
0% Time of Possession 0%
1 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
0 Saves 0

Teams

  • Japan
  • Bahrain
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards