Japan lost 2-0 to Uruguay in the second match day of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup group stage on Wednesday night, putting their chances of reaching the knockout stage in jeopardy.
The team encountered disaster early in the Suwon World Cup Stadium encounter when ace Koki Ogawa injured his left knee, taking him out of the match and perhaps threatening his participation in the rest of the campaign.
The Jubilo Iwata striker was replaced by 15-year-old Takefusa Kubo, but it was Uruguay who opened the scoring in the 38th minute when Nicolas Schiappacasse sliced through Japan’s defense and gave goalkeeper Ryosuke Kojima little chance at a save.
Japan spent the second half hunting for an equaliser, with Gamba Osaka starlet Ritsu Doan regrettably sending an empty-net chance over the bar. A late defensive error allowed Uruguay to find their second goal of the match in stoppage time.
The result drops Japan to third place in Group D, meaning that they will need a positive result against Italy in their third and final group stage match on Saturday if they are to progress to the Round of 16.