Kubo’s wonder goal puts Gent into playoffs

Kyodo

Yuya Kubo struck for the third successive game in style in Gent’s 3-0 victory over Mechelen in the Belgian Jupiler League on Sunday.

Kubo stated his case for another call-up to the Japan national team with a superb solo effort shortly before the break, weaving through four men from the center circle to slot home into the bottom corner to put the hosts up 2-0.

Gent was seventh on the table before the game — the top six qualify for the championship playoff — but Sunday’s three points in the regular-season finale took it to fourth.

Kubo scored for the fifth time in the seven games he has played for Gent, which he joined this winter and is getting its bang for its buck from the Japanese striker.

“I got a good look at the goal. I didn’t think, I just reacted, which turned out to be good,” Kubo said. “There was a lot of pressure on us, so I wanted to be more aggressive than usual.

“I like to think I’m holding up my end of the bargain.”

Kubo appears to be heating up at the right time with the World Cup qualifiers approaching on March 23 and March 28 against the United Arab Emirates and Thailand, respectively.

With the likes of Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa and Yuto Nagatomo in questionable form, Japan manager Vahid Halilhodzic must be heaving a sigh of relief Kubo is on the roll that he is.

“It would be nice if he (Halilhodzic) was checking up on me. I really hope he is,” Kubo said.