PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil, Two goals from Koji Miyoshi
helped Japan secure a hardearned point in a 22 draw with Uruguay at the
Copa America on Thursday.
Miyoshi twice fired Japan into the lead only for Uruguay to level through
a controversial penalty from Luis Suarez and a secondhalf header from Jose
The draw means Japan have an outside chance of reaching the quarterfinals
from Group C, with one game remaining against Ecuador.
Uruguay, who trounced Ecuador in their opening game, missed the chance to
make certain of their place in the last eight against a Japan team who had
been trounced 40 by Chile in their opening game.
Japan had been let down by poor finishing in their defeat to Chile, but
were a different proposition at the Arena do Gremio as coach Hajime Moriyasu
range the changes in his starting lineup.
Former Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki started alongside Hiroki Abe
up front as Moriyasu relegated Ayase Ueda and Takefusa Kubo to the bench.
Miyoshi meanwhile provided attacking thrust in a newlook Japanese
Abe created a halfchance on 10 minutes but Okazaki was unable to control
his attempted header and flashed his effort high and wide.
Uruguay meanwhile always looked threatening going forward, with the
strikeforce of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez causing problems for the
Japanese back four.
Cavani almost created the opening goal for Suarez in the 12th minute,
working a onetwo with Diego Godin before crossing for Suarez.
The Barcelona star however could only direct his chance at goalkeeper Eiji
Kawashima, who gathered safely.
Naomichi Ueda then had a halfchance for Japan at the other end but his
glancing header from a freekick was easily saved.
With Uruguay's defence looking uncharacteristically vulnerable, Japan took
the lead on 25 minutes when a long diagonal pass from Gaku Shibasaki sent
Miyoshi racing clear.
The 22yearold Yokohama F. Marinos midfielder still had plenty to do, but
ghosted to the byline before smashing into the roof of the net from a tight
But Japan's joy was shortlived as Uruguay were gifted an equaliser with a
VARassisted penalty four minutes later.
There appeared to be no question of a foul after Cavani and Ueda came
together in the penalty area with the Uruguayan striker stretching to reach a
But VAR ruled that Ueda had fouled Cavani prompting Colombian referee
Andres Rojas to point to the spot.
Suarez stepped up to convert and Uruguay were level.
Cavani almost gave Uruguay the lead in the 36th minute with 25yard rocket
that crashed off the bar but Japan reached the break level.
The second half saw Uruguay gradually get on top but yet another incisive
break from Japan led to Miyoshi grabbing his second to make it 21 in the
Again though Uruguay were quick to respond, Gimenez heading in Nicolas
Lodeiro's cross in the 66th minute to make it 22.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)