Japan went into the Asian group two World Cup qualifying rounds against Israel with a decisive disadvantage.
Japan went into the Asian group two World Cup qualifying rounds against Israel with a decisive disadvantage. At the request of the Japanese both legs were played in Israel for security reasons. The Israelis won 2-0 in the first leg, played on Sunday (6 March). Here the Japanese, in the white shirts, kick-off from right to left in the second match, played on Thursday (10 March) in Tel Aviv.
SYNOPSIS: With the knowledge that they had to try to make up the 2-0 defeat they suffered in the first leg, Japan went into this second match with far more determination. A crowd of 10,000 people packed into Ramat Gan stadium for the return game, and they weren't disappointed for lack of action.
The Israelis were quick to turn back Japanese attacks, and as in the first game, Japanese goalkeeper Mitsuhisa Taguchi was called on time and again to save his team. But the Japanese let themselves down badly in attack. Although the Israelis rarely allowed them to make effective build-ups, when given the chance, their finishing was very poor.
Israel looked the more dangerous side in front of goal and they made a vital breakthrough in the 40th minute. Israel's captain Mordechai Spiegler pounced on a Japanese clearance and put through a short pass for Oded Makhnes to score from a low shot.
An enthusiastic band of Japanese supporters cheered on their team, but even as the Israelis kicked off for the second half, they could see the game slipping away from the visitors. Israel continued to press for a second goal, but the Japanese defenders, showing individual skill, managed to keep them out each time.
Despite their good defensive work, the Japanese forwards continued to let down their side. Israel also missed several good chances, but with Makhnes in good form it seemed only a matter of time before Israel scored again.
Vicky Peretz put the issue beyond doubt with his goal nine minutes after half time. Israel now go to South Korea in the next stage of the World Cup.