Goalless Kirin Cup ends all-square

07 June 2011 06:00

Asian Cup holders Japan were held to a 0-0 draw by the Czech Republic on Tuesday, meaning the three-nation Kirin Cup finished all-square without a single goal scored.

Earlier matches saw both Japan and the Czech Republic draw 0-0 with Peru, meaning the three teams ended with two scoreless draws each, locked on two points apiece.

"I wanted to win but I'm satisfied with my team's performance. I hadn't expected my players to do so well only several days after I introduced a new 3-4-3 formation," said Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni.

"We hit 11 shots on goal, we just lacked accuracy," he added.

In the first half Stuttgart forward Shinji Okazaki, CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe missed chances for Japan.

The Czech Republic also missed openings through Bayer Leverkusen defender Michal Kadlec and Besiktas defender Tomas Sivok in the eighth and 16th minutes.

The best chance for the home side came in the 37th minute when Okazaki was brought down just outside the box, but Yasuhito Endo's powerful direct shot was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

In the 52nd minute, Maya Yoshida's header missed the target.

Japan came close to a goal in the 77th minute but Cech, whose tactics included launching long kicks to trouble the Japanese defence, proved unbeatable from close range.

Honda's free kick in injury time landed on the top of the net as the final whistle sounded.

"The quality of the game was high. I'm glad that we were able to play evenly against a strong team like Japan," said Czech coach Michal Bilek.

"We played better than in the game against Peru. Our team was not our best, but the young players did pretty well."

Source: AFP

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