Asian Cup Memories – 2004: Japan’s last triumph (so far…)
In a tournament of dramatic matches for Japan the final itself was another exciting match, although without the controversy of the quarter-final with Jordan, or the sheer drama of the semi-final with Bahrain.
It did feature more late late action though, but we’ll get to that. Takashi Fukunishi put Japan in front with a simple header aftare a free-kick had caused panic in the Chinese defence. But after that the Chinese hosts took the initiative and put Japan under intense pressure, roared on by 62,000 in the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing.
Li Ming got them level on the half hour, and they came close to adding to that as the half wore on.
Japan went back infront in through Koji Nakata midway through the second half, after which both teams had a succession of chances but both teams conitrived to miss them all until stoppage time when Keiji Tamada got the glory again by breaking clear, rounding the keeper and sealing the win.
A dramatic finish to a dramatic tournament for Japan, and a third Asian Cup win for the Samurai Blue.
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