Usami talks up Honda understanding

Usami talks up Honda understanding

Gamba Osaka star Takashi Usami credited his growing understanding with Keisuke Honda for his goal in Japan’s 3-0 win against Syria on Thursday night.

Usami scored from a pass from his compatriot in the closing minutes of the match at Al-Seeb Stadium in Oman, helping to propel Vahid Halilhodzic’s men top of Group E in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying action.

And the striker, who is also in the running to be crowned MEIJI YASUDA J1 League top goalscorer this season, analysed the build-up for his goal while describing his relationship with his Japan co-star.  

“When I saw [Hiroshi] Kiyotake pass the ball to Keisuke [Honda], I thought that he might play the ball to me, so I made my run forwards,” Usami, who came on as a substitute, told reporters.

“In the end, he dropped the ball back to me and it turned into a goal, so I think the goal came from my trust in [Honda].”

The goal was Usami’s first in a competitive match, coming just over half a year following his maiden senior strike in a friendly against Uzbekistan.

But the 23-year-old revealed he had not felt under any undue pressure to find the back of the net again, even if he relishes the feeling of scoring in a Samurai Blue shirt. 

“I wasn’t impatient [about scoring again] and I didn’t feel like it was that much time [since the last goal],” he reflected. 

“From now on I want to focus on scoring, no matter when I enter the game.”

Japan next travel to Tehran to face Iran in a friendly on Tuesday.