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Kurata’s late strike lifts Japan over N.Z.

The Associated PressTOYOTA, Aichi (AP) — Yuya Osako and Shu Kurata scored second-half goals Friday as Japan beat New Zealand 2-1 in a friendly.

With 3 minutes left, Kurata scored with a header off a pass from Hiroki Sakai.

New Zealand managed to keep Japan off the scoreboard in the first half, but the hosts scored in the 50th minute. Hotaru Yamaguchi earned a spot kick with a shot from outside the box that went off the right arm of Andrew Durante. Osako calmly converted for his seventh international goal.

Chris Wood equalized for New Zealand 9 minutes later.

“We may have won but it was not easy at all,” Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic said. “New Zealand defended very well.”

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