Moeka Minami and Remina Chiba slotted early goals as Japan eased to a 2-0 victory away to Uzbekistan in Olympic women’s football qualifying Sunday.
Nadeshiko Japan’s second straight win in Group C puts them in pole position to advance to the final round of Asian qualifying, with a draw against Vietnam on Wednesday enough to see them through.
The hosts threatened early at Tashkent’s Bunyodkor Stadium before manager Futoshi Ikeda’s side began to exert control over the contest.
Minami opened the scoring off a corner kick in the 10th minute, shaking free of her marker and heading in at the back post.
Chiba, who helped Japan clinch gold at the recent Asian Games in Hangzhou, doubled the margin five minutes later with a deflected shot from close range.
“This was a chance to make use of that (Asian Games) experience,” the JEF United forward said. “I want to score goals on this stage.”
Japan currently lead the group and can most likely avoid a meeting with fellow Asian heavyweights and Group A leaders Australia in the final qualifying round by finishing on top.
By Muhammad Hussain