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Dramatic Harakawa goal sends Japan to Rio

Dramatic Harakawa goal sends Japan to Rio

Japan’s Under-23 team set up a dream final against South Korea at the 2016 AFC Under-23 Championship when they defeated Iraq 2-1 on Tuesday in their semi-final.

Makoto Teguramori’s team came out swinging in the first half, with Albirex Niigata’s Musashi Suzuki setting up Yuya Kubo’s opening goal in the 26th minute.

However, Iraq found an equaliser close to half time in a penalty-area scramble following a corner kick.

The West Asian side kept up pressure in the second half, seeking an identical result to that of the UAE-hosted 2012 AFC U-19 Championship quarter-final in which they defeated Japan 2-1. 

Instead, the winner was scored by Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Riki Harakawa who stabbed at a loose ball in the third minute of injury time to lift a jubilant Japan to the final.

The result means the young Samurai Blue have already secured a berth at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Japan will face East Asian rivals South Korea on Saturday after the latter defeated tournament hosts Qatar 3-1 in their corresponding clash.
Japan’s Under-23 team set up a dream final against South Korea at the 2016 AFC Under-23 Championship when they defeated Iraq 2-1 on Tuesday in their semi-final.

Makoto Teguramori’s team came out swinging in the first half, with Albirex Niigata’s Musashi Suzuki setting up Yuya Kubo’s opening goal in the 26th minute.

However, Iraq found an equaliser close to half time in a penalty-area scramble following a corner kick.

The West Asian side kept up pressure in the second half, seeking an identical result to that of the UAE-hosted 2012 AFC U-19 Championship quarter-final in which they defeated Japan 2-1. 

Instead, the winner was scored by Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Riki Harakawa who stabbed at a loose ball in the third minute of injury time to lift a jubilant Japan to the final.

The result means the young Samurai Blue have already secured a berth at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Japan will face East Asian rivals South Korea on Saturday after the latter defeated tournament hosts Qatar 3-1 in their corresponding clash.

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