J.League representatives star in Japan’s 1-1 draw with Iran

J.League representatives star in Japan’s 1-1 draw with Iran

A Japan side with a strong core of J.League players earned a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Iran on Tuesday.

Samurai Blue coach Vahid Halilhodzic fielded Takashi Usami, Shusaku Nishikawa, Masato Morishige, Koki Yonekura and Gaku Shibasaki from the start at Iran’s Azadi Stadium.

The visitors were unlucky to go into the break a goal down after Maya Yoshida conceded a penalty which Mehdi Torabi converted right before the half-time whistle was blown.

However, Japan produced an instant response after the restart as former FC Tokyo star Yoshinori Muto latched onto Keisuke Honda’s pass to level the tie 1-1.

Urawa Reds midfielder Kashiwagi Yosuke was then thrown on for Shibasaki as Halilhodzic attempted to find a breakthrough, while Daiki Niwa earned his second Japan cap when he replaced Gotoku Sakai at right-back.

Despite ending in stalemate, the match proved a memorable one for Red Bull Salzburg star Takumi Minamino, who made his debut senior appearance for Japan as an 87th minute substitute.

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