Birmingham, England – Japan forward Takumi Minamino set up Liverpool’s second goal as the Premier League champions beat coronavirus-hit Aston Villa 4-1 in the third round of the F.A. Cup on Friday.
The 25-year-old has been an unused substitute since scoring his first Premier League goal on Dec. 19 against Crystal Palace but started at Villa Park against a virus-depleted team all under the age of 23.
But Villa, which fell behind early after an Sadio Mane goal, frustrated Liverpool for the much of the game and drew level in the first half on a breakaway goal from 17-year-old Louie Barry.
But on the hour mark Minamino, under pressure in the penalty area, deftly laid the ball off for Georginio Wijnaldum to sweep home.
Within the space of five minutes, Mane’s second headed goal and Mohamad Salah’s well-placed finish secured the victory and sent Liverpool to the fourth round.
Minamino, who made his debut last January in the same round of the competition against Everton, started on the left wing and showed good touches in tight areas before he was taken off soon after the assist.
In Portugal, Manchester City’s on-loan forward Ryotaro Meshino scored his second goal of the season as Rio Ave dispatched Portimonense 3-0 at home.
The 22-year-old, who like Minamino hails from Izumisano, Osaka, picked the ball up on the edge of the box and created space before firing low into the bottom left-hand corner in the 54th minute for a 2-0 lead. Japan defender Koki Anzai played for the away side.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.