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Monday, 2nd April 2012
In Japan Sports News, Sports,

US punish the Nadeshiko's missed opportunities

Japan failed to inflict their third defeat running against the Olympic champions yesterday (April 1st), missing a handful of good chances before the US eventually got an equaliser.

It was a perfect opportunity for the World Cup winners to inflict a moral-damaging defeat upon the US ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, but Alex Morgan's 72nd minute finish was enough to earn her side a 1-1 draw.

The Nadeshiko began the match in Sendai in fine form and outclassed their opponents in the first half.

Arguably their biggest rivals for Olympic gold, Japan bullied the US in the opening exchanges before right-back Yukari Kinga provided the final touch in a slick move on 32 minutes.

A sublime lofted pass from Nahomi Kawasumi released the marauding defender and after her first cross had been charged down, she was first to react and rifled home the rebound.

A clutch of chances fell to the world champions, who caused a big upset when they beat the US on penalties at the World Cup final in Germany, but they couldn't grab the second goal they needed to take the match and inevitably the US fought their way back into the game.

Japan's coach Norio Sasaki refused to be disheartened however and took a lot of positives from the game.

He said: ''We have really made progress with the way we are going forward in our matches against the US," the Mainichi Daily quoted.

''But we did make a few poor decisions when we were under pressure and we could have avoided that if we had kept our cool a bit more. Being able to change the tempo is something that we need to work on."

In March, Japan women beat the US 1-0 in the Algarve cup before losing to Germany in the final.

Posted by Mark Smith

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