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November 19, 2009

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Japan shrugs off jetlag to thrash HK

JAPAN brushed off jetleg to beat China's Hong Kong 4-0 and stay top of its 2011 Asian Cup qualifying group yesterday.

Midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura was among the scorers for Japan, forced to qualify for the tournament after losing the third-place playoff to South Korea two years ago.

The "Blue Samurai" have nine points from three matches in Group A, putting the three-time Asian Cup champion within reach of the finals in Qatar.

German-based midfielder Makoto Hasebe lashed a fierce shot into the top corner from 25 meters to put the visitors ahead in the 32nd minute.

Japan, which held 2010 World Cup host South Africa to a 0-0 draw in Port Elizabeth at the weekend, added a second goal in the 74th through a header from substitute Hisato Sato.

Nakamura, who plays for Espanyol, curled in a freekick 10 minutes later before striker Shinji Okazaki converted a penalty in the last minute for his 15th goal in 20 internationals.


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