London 2012 Olympics: Japan 3 - 0 Egypt: Japan eye footy gold
Japan maintained their pursuit of double Olympic football gold as the men followed the women into the last four of the tournament.
Women’s World Cup holders Japan stunned Brazil on Friday to set up a semi-final clash with France tomorrow.
Just 24 hours later, the men clinched their own Wembley date, with Kensuke Nagai, captain Maya Yoshida and Yuki Otsu all on target in their quarter-final clash with ten-man Egypt, and will now face Senegal or Mexico on Tuesday.
In front of a 70,772 crowd at Old Trafford, surprise-package Japan opened their account in the 14th-minute, with Nagai taking advantage of a mix up between goalkeeper Ahmed Elshenawi and defender Saadeldin Saad.
Running on to a low right-wing cross from Hiroshi Kiyotake, Nagai stole in front of Egypt’s colliding duo to stroke the ball into an empty net.
Nagai, however, was injured as Ahmed Hegazi ran into the back of the striker, which led to him being replaced in the 19th minute by Manabu Saito, who then played a key role in the only other notable incident of the half.
Chasing a 41st-minute through ball, Saito was clipped on the edge of the area by Saad who, as last man, was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Geiger.
It was not until the 78th minute Japan took advantage of their numerical superiority, with Yoshida flicking home a low free-kick from Kiyotake, before Otsu headed in five minutes later.
Japan coach Takashi Sekizuka feels they can win gold.
“We are in a position to challenge the world,” said Sekizuka. “The team is getting stronger game by game, we will prepare and step forward towards the medal.
“We are playing as 11 players together. Both offence and defence are functioning really well at the moment.
“I’m very satisfied we’ve progressed into our first semi-final for 44 years. The key now is to physically and mentally recover.”
Egypt coach Hany Ramzy felt Saad’s red card changed the game. He said: “The dismissal of our player, which I do agree with, affected the team. It was difficult playing with ten against an organised team like Japan, but I’m still proud of my team. We’ve played a very good tournament.”
Japan: Gonda, Tokunaga, Ohgihara, Sakai, Yoshida, Otsu, Higashi, Nagai, Suzuki, Yamaguchi, Kiyotake. Subs: Ando, Muramatsu, Sakai, Yamamura, Usami, Sugimoto, Saito.
Egypt: El-Shenawy, Hegazy, Fathy, Ramadan, Samir, El-Din Ahmed, Hassan, El-Nenny, Aboutrika, Motaeb, Salah. Subs: Bassam, Eldin, Gomaa, Gaber, Magdi, Fathi, Mohsen.
Referee: M Geiger. Attendance: 70,772.
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