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Japan starts Asian Cup with win over Turkmenistan

The Associated Press

Japan’s forward Yuya Osako, right, heads the ball during the AFC Asian Cup group F soccer match between Japan and Turkmenistan at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The Associated Press ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Japan’s quest for a record fifth Asian Cup title got going Wednesday with a 3-2 victory over Turkmenistan.

After giving up an early goal, the Japanese scored three in quick succession to turn the game around.

Yuya Osako scored in the 56th and 60th minutes and Ritsu Doan made it 3-1 in the 71st.

Arslanmurat Amanov scored with long-range shot to give Turkmenistan — the Asian Cup’s second lowest-ranked team — the lead in the 26th minute. Ahmet Atayev converted a penalty kick toward the end after a foul by Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.

Japan is playing without experienced players such as midfielder Shinji Kagawa and forward Shinji Okazaki.

Oman and Uzbekistan will meet in the other Group F match later Wednesday, while 2022 World Cup host Qatar will play Lebanon.

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  • The Associated Press


    Japan's forward Yuya Osako, left, celebrates after scoring his second goal during the AFC Asian Cup group F soccer match between Japan and Turkmenistan at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

  • The Associated Press

    Japan’s forward Yuya Osako, center front, duels for the ball with Turkmenistan’s midfielder during the AFC Asian Cup group F soccer match between Japan and Turkmenistan at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

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