Japan fall short in Kirin Cup final

Japan fall short in Kirin Cup final

Japan took the lead against Bosnia & Herzegovina through Hiroshi Kiyotake but eventually fell 2-1 in the final of the Kirin Cup on Tuesday.

With star attackers Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa left off the starting XI due to injury, Gamba Osaka’s Takashi Usami and Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Takuma Asano joined Leicester striker Shinji Okazaki leading the front line. 

After breaking past defenders on the left side Usami’s skilful grounder in the 28th minute set up Kiyotake’s opening goal. But just one minute later, Milan Duric capitalised on a fumbled clearance attempt by Urawa Reds goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa to even the score at 1-1.

Duric scored his second goal in the 66th minute to give Bosnia the lead, and eventually the title, despite a Japan comeback attempt which featured the international debut of Jubilo Iwata midfielder Yuki Kobayashi. 

Fans were also treated to appearances by Kashima Antlers attacker Mu Kanazaki, and Kawasaki Frontale striker Yu Kobayashi.

Denmark took third place in the friendly invitational after they dominated in a 4-0 win over Bulgaria in the afternoon match.