Thursday 11 August 2016, 00:52

Japan see off Sweden in vain

Japan emerged victorious from a tight clash against Sweden in Salvador which, ultimately, proved to be a win in vain at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament. Colombia's victory against Nigeria in Group B's other game of the evening meant Los Cafeteros progressed in second place behind group winners Nigeria.

An often cagey first half saw the Samurai Blue in the ascendancy, letting Sweden have the ball before hitting them on swift counter-attacks.

Notably, Takuma Asano found himself in behind the Swedish backline, teeing up Shoya Nakajima whose shot was off target. Astrit Ajdarevic had an effort at goal direct from a free-kick just before the interval, but Kosuke Nakamura was equal to the strike.

In the second period, Japan took hold of the game, maintaining possession for longer periods. That approach paid dividends with the opening goal coming from a nice piece of interplay. Ryota Oshima danced through a couple of challenges and burst into the Swedish penalty area. He slid the ball into Shinya Yajima, who beat his marker to the ball to finish.

Makoto Teguramori's side then came close to doubling their advantage. Oshima, again, was the instigator, curling in a devilish delivery which saw Tsukasa Shiotani rise highest. His header looped over Andreas Linde, but the goalkeeper was saved by the crossbar, the ball bouncing back off the woodwork and away.

The result, due to the outcome in Sao Paulo, sees both sides head home, with neither side unable to match their most recent Olympic efforts: the Samurai Blue's run to the bronze medal match in London 2012, and the ​Blagult​'s ​Barcelona 1992 campaign, which finished at the quarter-final stage.