Minamino leaves Japan squad ahead of Asian Under-23 final

Kyodo

Austria-based striker Takumi Minamino will leave Japan’s Under-23s before they play South Korea in the final of the Asian Under-23 Championship in Doha on Saturday, the Japan Football Association said on Wednesday.

Minamino’s club Salzburg requested his early release after Japan booked its spot at this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics with a 2-1 win over Iraq in the semifinals on Tuesday, according to JFA technical director Masahiro Shimoda.

“I am sad to be leaving but I have my club’s situation to think about,” said Minamino. “I will leave it (the final) with the rest of the group and will wait for good news.”