Okazaki hat-trick has Japan in cruise control

Japan have cruised through to the quarter-finals of the 2011 Asian Cup with an easy 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

Stuttgart recruit Shinji Okazaki was the star of the show with a hat-trick whilst joint J-League Golden Boot winner, Ryoichi Maeda from Jubilo Iwata, chimed in with two to enable the Blue Samurai to finish on top of Group B.

The first goal came in the eighth minute when Okazaki got on the end of a Yasuhito Endo pass, lobbing Saudi keeper Waleed Abdullah before knocking it home to kick off proceedings.

Five minutes later it was 2-0 when Okazaki nodded home a Shinji Kagawa cross before Yuto Nagatomo advanced down the left before crossing for Maeda who volleyed home in the 19th minute.

A fourth goal came six minutes after the break through a Maeda header before Okazaki completed his treble ten minutes from time when he fired a shot home after Maeda turned provider and found him for the side’s fifth.

Japan will meet hosts Qatar in the quarter-final of the competition on January 21 whilst Saudi Arabia had to settle for bottom place on the group table, failing to record a single point.
2011 Asian Cup – Group B
Saudi Arabia: 0
Japan: 5 (Shinji Okazaki 8’/13’80’, Ryoichi Maeda 19’/51’)

Venue: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Crowd: 2,022
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)

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