Soccer

Samurai Blue’s young guns deliver for European clubs

Kyodo

Striker Takumi Minamino netted the winning goal in Salzburg’s 1-0 victory over Rheindorf Altach at home on Sunday.

Minamino scored his fourth league goal of the season in the 18th minute at Red Bull Arena off a pass from Andre Ramalho. Salzburg now sit on 44 points atop the 12-team Austrian first-division table.

“I’m glad that I scored. That is the minimum required of me, so I’ll keep it up,” said Minamino, who scored his 11th goal overall with Salzburg this season.

In other European soccer on Sunday, Shoya Nakajima scored what proved to be the decisive goal to lift Portuguese first-division side Portimonense to a 3-2 victory over Tondela at home.

Nakajima netted a first-half stoppage-time goal as his team went 3-1 up and they were able to withstand a late Tondela effort to secure all three points. He recorded his fifth league goal of the season.

In the Dutch top division, Ritsu Doan contributed a goal and an assist to Groningen’s 5-2 win at home against NAC Breda. It was Doan’s fourth league goal of the season.

The 20-year-old Doan, 24-year-old Nakajima and 23-year-old Minamino have all been lauded as the rising stars of Hajime Moriyasu’s new Japan squad.

In the Belgian first division, forward Yuta Toyokawa headed in the winner for Eupen as they beat Waasland-Beveren 1-0.

Toyokawa scored his fourth league goal of the season off a pass from Senegalese midfielder Mamadou Fall.

“My strong point is heading, so it’s just about how high it is when I’m going for the ball,” Toyokawa said. “The ball was really good. I’ve been looking for a ball like that this season and it finally took form.”