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Several of Japan’s senior players have leapt to the defense of Keisuke Honda and expressed their shock Sunday at the $5,000 fine the AC Milan midfielder has been handed by the Asian Football Confederation’s disciplinary committee for critical comments about refereeing at the Asian Cup.

Honda has been slapped with the fine for comments he made about Qatari referee Abdulrahman Hussain after Japan thrashed Palestine 4-0 in its opening Group D match in Newcastle on Jan. 12.

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