Yosuke Kashiwagi and Hiroki Fujiharu laid on both of Japan’s goals in their 2-0 2018 World Cup qualifying win over Cambodia on Tuesday.
The Samurai Blue set out to remain top of Group E, with Vahid Halilhodzic placing his trust in a strong core of J.League players, including Tomoaki Makino, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Takashi Usami and Wataru Endo from the start.
Despite their clear superiority, Japan went into the break goalless as Shinji Okazaki saw his weak penalty easily saved after Nen Sothearath bodychecked Shinji Kagawa in the box.
Determined to see out their final match of 2015 with a win, the visitors continued pressing for the opener in the second half and found it when Khoun Laboravy turned Kashiwagi’s free-kick into his own net under pressure from Okazaki.
It took till the 90th minute before Japan doubled their lead, Fujiharu flying down the left flank to deliver a precise cross for Keisuke Honda to allow the AC Milan man to head home.
The win ensures Japan progress to the third round of World Cup qualifying action, while they are also on the verge of sealing an automatic place at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.