Honda made it easy for me, says Fujiharu

Honda made it easy for me, says Fujiharu

Hiroki Fujiharu revealed his delight at contributing an assist in Japan’s 2-0 2018 World Cup qualifying win over Cambodia on Tuesday.

The Gamba Osaka left-back was handed his third national cap and went on to assist his nation’s second goal, crossing perfectly for Keisuke Honda to net in the 90th minute.

Fujiharu, who received his international debut under Vahid Halilhodzic in March, discussed the move.

“I had a chance to score in the first half, but in the end I was able to assist Keisuke and I’m happy about that,” the 26-year-old told reporters after the match.

“Our opponents were tired at the end of the match and only sent one defender to the side, so I realised it was a chance to push forward. 

“Keisuke put himself in a good position, and all I had to do was get the ball to him.”
Hotaru Yamaguchi likewise started the match and – while admitting Japan’s first half had not gone according to plan – praised the introduction of Yosuke Kashiwagi.

“We had a poor first half because of our missed passes, which allowed [Cambodia] to counter and find their rhythm,” the Cerezo Osaka starlet said. 

“In the second half we were able to move behind them and find the style we were looking for. Yosuke is great at delivering the ball behind the defenders.

“That’s not something I’m good at, so instead I was able to focus on working the sides of the pitch.”

The Samurai Blue’s latest win allows them to sign off on a high note before their qualification campaign resumes next March.