Soccer

Ryotaro Meshino nets third goal of season in Hearts draw

Kyodo

Hearts’ Ryotaro Meshino scored his third goal of the season Sunday with a superb opener but his team had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen which sent them further adrift at the foot of the Scottish first division.

The 21-year-old, on loan from Manchester City, had a number of decent efforts in the first half and got the opener in the 49th minute as he picked the ball in the opposing half, took a few touches to cut in from the left before sending the ball curling into the top-right corner from 20 yards.

“I like that angle and have been practicing them,” said the Gamba Osaka youth product, deployed in the No. 10 role.

Hearts’ Sean Clare was shown a straight red in the 68th minute for denying a clear scoring opportunity before Niall McGinn scored the ensuing free kick to draw Aberdeen level on enemy turf. Meshino was taken off eight minutes later.

“I’m getting more used to this league and starting to see where the ball is going to drop. I could have scored two or three,” said the Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopeful.

Meshino will play in the Under-23 Asian Championship in Thailand next month as the only foreign-based player for Japan.

“I just try to show my character regardless of whether it’s for the country or the club,” he said.

With Hamilton, the team above Hearts on the table, beating Motherwell, Meshino’s team is now five points adrift at the bottom of the league.