Kaoru Mitoma

Kaoru Mitoma scored a late brace to help Japan beat Australia 2-0 and book their place at the Qatar World Cup.

Going into the match in Sydney, the permutations were clear for Japan, with a victory enough to book their ticket to the World Cup in Qatar as one of two automatic qualifiers.

It was an end-to-end contest in the opening 45 minutes, with both teams creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Australia thought they had opened the scores midway through the first half when Martin Boyle found the back of the net, but his joy was short-lived as referee Nawaf Shukralla ruled it out for a foul.

Takumi Minamino then came close to giving Japan the opener just before the half-hour mark, but his effort went just wide of the left post.

The Liverpool man then struck the crossbar in the 37th minute with a ferocious shot from the age of the box as the match went into the break still scoreless.

The second half was equally engaging as both sides pushed to get the elusive goal, and for a minute seemed it was not coming going into the last minute of the match.

It was then that Mikoma opened the scores in the 89th minute when he collected a killer pass inside the box that put him one-on-one against the goalkeeper, and he drilled a low drive deep inside the left post.

Deep in added time, Mikoma made a great solo run and pulled the trigger from inside the box, beating Mathew Ryan with a low strike into the middle of the goal for a 2-0 win.

The loss means Australia will now face two playoff matches.


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