Doha: Substitute Takuma Asano came off the bench to score twice and earn Japan a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 win over Korea Republic in the final of the AFC U23 Championship at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium on Saturday evening.

Kwon Chang-hoon and Jin Seong-uk gave Korea Republic a two-goal cushion by the second minute of the second half, but Asano’s introduction in the 60th minute turned the game in Japan’s favour with the Sanfrecce Hiroshima striker scoring either side of a goal by Shinya Yajima to seal the Japanese fight back.

The win means Japan will go to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August as Asian champions, where they will be joined by both Korea Republic and Iraq, winners of Friday’s third place play-off.

Both coaches were forced into making several changes, with Japan’s Makoto Teguramori switching four players, replacing Takumi Minamino, Musashi Suzuki, Tatsuki Nara and Riki Harakawa with Takuya Iwanami, Ryota Oshima, Onaiwu Ado and Yajima.

 

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