Japan see off Scotland
An own goal and Kensuke Honda's strike in the final 10 minutes gave Japan a 2-0 win over a second-string Scotland in a friendly international here Saturday.
Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Christophe Berra slotted into his own net from a cross by Japan defender Yuichi Komano on 83 minutes.
The Blue Samurai went further ahead on the stroke of injury time when Honda, a VVV Venlo midfielder, slammed in a rebound off Catania striker Takayuki Morimoto's shot inside the box.
"We could not find our offensive rhythm in the first half, struggling with our basic pass-and-move tactics. But we started to get better toward half-time," Japan coach Takeshi Okada said.
It was Japan's first win in three international matches against Scotland, having drawn twice before.
Japan, who have qualified for the World Cup, face Togo in another home friendly in Miyagi next Wednesday.
Okada rested several key players, including midfield lynchpins Shunsuke Nakamura of Espanyol and Yasuhito Endo of Gamba Osaka, just two days after his squad outclassed Hong Kong 6-0 in an Asian Cup qualifier at home.
Scotland manager George Burley has brought an experimental squad to Japan, missing 10 regulars including Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher and Tottenham fullback Alan Hutton.
"It was a good workout for us," Burley said. "Japan had a lot of possession and played nice football but didn't have too many chances. But we are disappointed about giving away the own goal."
Before the match at the Yokohama International stadium, a minute of silence was observed in memory of former Scottish Football Association president David Will who died of cancer on September 24.
The Blue Samurai kept possession and squandered several scoring chances in the first half.
Blackpool midfielder Charles Adam's 30-metre free kick went wide in the 31st minute and Kawasaki midfielder Kengo Nakamura shot into the side of the net from close range from a Honda cross four minutes later.
FC Tokyo's Naohiro Ishikawa, who has scored 14 goals in 23 J-League matches this season, slotted a cross from Kashima Antlers defender Atsuto Uchida into Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon's arms on 37 minutes.
Nakamura was on target again in the 41st minute.
Ishikawa fed a cross from near the baseline to Nakamura in front of the net but his shot was stopped by Celtic defender Stephen McManus.
Morimoto, 21, who has already scored three goals in Serie-A games this season, was called in on 56 minutes to make his international debut.
In the 62nd minute, Gordon punched away Honda's 20-metre free kick.
Adam picked the ball in front of the goal five minutes later but blasted it over the net.
Scotland blew another chance in the 73rd minute as Burnley striker Steven Fletcher almost carried the ball past surging Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima. Kawashima fell but kicked the ball away from Fletcher's feet.
"The ball rolled into the right place at the right time," a smiling Honda said of his goal. "I just had to stick it away."