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Japan, Iraq Win in Group D

Japan, Iraq Win in Group DJapan, Iraq Win in Group D

Defending champions Japan thrashed Palestine 4-0 in their Asian Cup opener on Monday (Jan 12), giving them the perfect start in their quest for a fifth title.

Yasuhito Endo, making his 149th appearance for Japan, rifled a shot into the bottom corner, with goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh going down in installments to gift the J-League player of the year his 15th international goal, according to Couriermail website.

Shinji Okazaki, who has been in a rich vein of form for German club Mainz, scored with a poacher’s strike in the 25th minute, reacting with razor-sharp reflexes to head in a volley from Shinji Kagawa which looked to be fizzing wide.

Keisuke Honda, Japan’s bleach-blond cult hero, then stroked home a penalty just before half-time before defender Maya Yoshida nodded in a fourth.

 Iraq Beats Jordan

Iraq’s bid to regain the Asian Cup started on a winning but hardly convincing note, relying on a deflected goal to beat a plucky Jordan 1-0 at Brisbane Stadium.

In a mostly forgettable affair that seemed destined to finish in a stalemate, Iraq, the 2007 Asian Cup winner, finally scored the goal that their vocal fans craved for in the 79th minute through midfielder Yaser Kasim.

A club teammate at Swindon Town of Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo, Kasim was rewarded for an enterprising run into Jordan’s penalty area. But he still required the aid of a deflection off Jordan defender Tareq Khattab for his shot to beat wrong-footed goalkeeper Amer Shafi.

With the results on the 4th day of the cup games in group D, Japan stands above Iraq just on goal difference.

With all the 16 teams playing one match, from today, January 13, the cup run continues with the second game of Group A teams, where host Australia meets Oman and South Korea play Kuwait.

Financialtribune.com