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AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda converted his second penalty in as many matches on Friday as defending champion Japan took a big step toward reaching the knockout phase of the Asian Cup with a 1-0 win over Iraq.

Honda, who also hit the woodwork three times, swept home the decider midway through the first half at Brisbane Stadium to send Japan top of Group D with six points from two games, three clear of 2007 champion Iraq and Jordan.

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