Japan ran out 3-0 winners against South Korea in a friendly at the Nissan Stadium on Thursday to record their first victory over their rivals since 2013.
The fixture is one of the fiercest rivalries in Asian football, with Thursday’s clash in front of 10,000 spectators billed as a tester event ahead of this summer’s Olympic games.
It was the pair’s first meeting since the final match of the 2019 EAFF E-1 Football Championship (formally the East Asia Cup), which South Korea won 1-0 to win the tournament.
However, Japan avenged their 2019 defeat with a comfortable 3-0 victory on Thursday thanks to first half goals from Miki Yamane and Daichi Kamada, before Wataru Endo wrapped up the win seven minutes from time.
Japan were much the better side in the opening quarter of an hour and were almost ahead inside 10 minutes when Wataru Endo clipped the top of the crossbar. Their pressure soon paid off and the hosts deservedly took the lead after 16 minutes, Yamane latching onto Yuya Osako’s clever flick and leathering the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.
Japan doubled their advantage 11 minutes later, Kamada overlapping down the right flank and calmly finishing off the inside of the post.
The hosts were again on top in the second half, on loan Liverpool man Takumi Minamino denied twice by a double save from South Korea goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.
The visitors rarely threatened in a below par performance, Hong Chul’s free kick into the side netting the closest they came to getting on the scoresheet as they registered just one shot on target.
And as the clock ticked down, Japan netted a third as Wataru Endo was left completely unmarked at a corner to head home from close range and wrap up a comfortable victory for the hosts.
Japan are next in action on Tuesday when they face Mongolia in World Cup qualifying.