BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA – Musashi Suzuki bagged his first international goal to help lead Japan to a 2-1 win over China in the EAFF E-1 Football Championship on Tuesday.
The Consadole Sapporo forward opened the scoring for Hajime Moriyasu’s squad of J. League players in the first half, while Gamba Osaka defender Genta Miura added a second from a set play after the break.
Dong Xuesheng pulled a goal back for China in the 90th minute at Busan Gudeok Stadium to cause a frantic end to a game which Japan had largely controlled.
Shinnosuke Hatanaka just failed to put the Samurai Blue ahead on the stroke of 16 minutes, hitting the woodwork after Yosuke Ideguchi’s free kick near the left corner took a deflection and found the Yokohama F. Marinos defender at the back post.
Japan took the lead on a 29th-minute counterattack as Suzuki lashed home a shot from the middle of the area after Ayase Ueda played a deft back-heel with his first touch, setting up Tsukasa Morishima to provide the short cross from the left.
“It felt great to get my first goal for Japan and it makes me want to score more,” said the 25-year-old Suzuki, who made his international debut against Colombia in March.
They added a second in the 70th minute when Miura scored with a header from directly in front following a corner kick by Gamba midfielder Ideguchi.
Dong cut the deficit in the final minute of regulation when he strode into the area unmarked and headed into the net off a free kick by Jin Jingdao.
Japan will play Hong Kong on Saturday before meeting hosts South Korea on Dec. 18 to finish off the final stage of the tournament, contested outside FIFA’s international window by the top sides in East Asia.
Nadeshiko Japan will face Taiwan in the women’s draw on Wednesday.