Milan – Japan captain Maya Yoshida netted his first goal in the Italian top flight Sunday to help Sampdoria defeat relegation-threatened Parma 2-0.
The 32-year-old center back, who moved from English Premier League side Southampton midway through last season, capitalized on a defensive lapse to score the winner in the 25th minute at Parma’s Ennio Tardini Stadium.
Unmarked following a set play, Yoshida tapped home from directly in front after the ball ricocheted into his path off a Parma defender. Winger Keita Balde added a second goal before halftime.
Yoshida’s contributions at the defensive end also helped Sampdoria register their first clean-sheet victory in 15 games.
“I’m satisfied because we played a good game. Keeping a clean sheet is so important for the defenders and goalkeeper,” Yoshida said.
The 189-cm defender, who has been a goal threat on set plays both for Japan and his club sides, said he aimed to add to his tally for 10th-place Sampdoria.
“I’d like to get two more by the end of the season,” he said.
In the French top flight, Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima saw his run of three consecutive clean sheets for Strasbourg snapped in a 1-1 draw away to Dijon.
“It’s a shame the run came to an end. But it’s important that we didn’t lose,” Kawashima said.
The 37-year-old World Cup custodian has made 11 straight appearances for Strasbourg, but could face a selection battle following the return of injured goalkeeper Matz Sels to practice.
“I honestly don’t know what will happen from here, but I will concentrate on getting results in the games I play,” Kawashima said.
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