Venezuela stymies Japan’s winning streak

Oita (Japan),   A late equaliser scored by midfielder Tomas Rincon secured a 1-1 tie for Venezuela against host Japan in a friendly football match on Friday, which ended the Asian team’s winning streak.

This draw came after three consecutive home victories for the Samurai Blue in friendlies against Latin American rivals: Costa Rica (3-0) on September 11, Panama (3-0) on October 12, and Uruguay (4-3) on October 16, reports Efe.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan “Vinotinto” national team had won its most recent two friendlies against Panama (2-0) on September 12, and the United Arab Emirates (2-0) on October 16.

Japan started Friday’s match, held at Oita Bank Dome stadium on Kyushu Island, by controlling the ball and imposing their offence on Vinotinto.

The hosts’ goal came before the first-half stoppage time, as defender Hiroki Sakai ran behind the Venezuelan defence, connecting the cross by Shoya Nakajima from a free-kick and sending the ball home.

After the break, Japan’s drive was less effective which left more space available to Venezuela.

Vinotinto’s Rincon managed to net the equaliser for Venezuela just nine minutes before the second-half stoppage time on a successful penalty try, and the Latin American side proceeded to secure the tie, despite Japan pushing the ball down the field in the final minutes.

Venezuela is preparing to participate in the 2019 Copa America championship that will be held in Brazil from June 14 to July 7.

Incidentally, the Japanese side is to be one of two invited teams to the 2019 Copa America, the other team being Qatar’s national team.

The Samurai Blue have been led by coach Hajime Moriyasu who was appointed last July, just after the 2018 FIFA World Cup where the Japanese team reached the round of 16.