A strong effort by Japan’s under-24 team was not enough to overcome their Argentine counterparts as head coach Akinobu Yokouchi’s side suffered a 1-0 loss at Ajinomoto Stadium on Friday night in the first of two scheduled friendlies between the two sides.

After hitting the woodwork twice early in the first half, the third time turned out to be the charm for Argentina in the 21st minute when striker Adolpho Gaich, the tallest field player on the pitch at 192 centimeters, headed a cross from Matias Vargas off the bottom of the crossbar and past the outstretched arm of Japan goalkeeper Keisuke Osako.

Japan struggled early against the Argentine press and rarely escaped their own half, but over time the host managed to apply pressure, especially with midfielder Koji Miyoshi providing crosses from the right side.