Japan beats Tajikistan 4-0 in World Cup qualifier
Dushanbe (Tajikistan): Japan brushed aside Tajikistan 4-0 to continue its unbeaten streak in Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup on Friday.
Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki scored his second goal of the match in the dying seconds, putting the final touch to an effortless victory that keeps Japan atop Group C, ahead of second-placed Uzbekistan, which was to play North Korea late on Friday.
Other goals in the game played in the national stadium in the Tajik capital Dushanbe came from Yasuyuki Konno and Ryoichi Maeda.
The loss was Tajikistan`s fourth from as many group games. It reached the qualification phase only after Syria was barred by FIFA for illegally fielding a player.
Japan will take on North Korea at Pyongyang on Tuesday, its first match in North Korea since 1989.
Alberto Zaccheroni`s team faced few difficulties in overcoming Tajikistan, which it crushed by 8-0 last month, although it took a fortuitous rebound in the 36th minute by Konno from a save by Tajik goalkeeper Alisher Tuychiev to break the deadlock.
A header from Okzaki in the 61st doubled the score. Eight minutes before time striker Maeda clinically struck the ball into the top corner to beat Tuychiev once more.