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Komano shines again in Japan's win

4 Jun 2007(Mon)

June 2, 2007: Although the quality and pattern of play fell away significantly in the second half, there was still enough positive aspects to take from Japan's 2-0 victory over Montenegro on Friday night.

The first was the two goals, beautifully crafted and expertly finished and which virtually killed the game by half time.

The opening goal had clearly been refined on the training ground, as Endo opened up a better angle from his left-wing corner and Nakazawa moved into position on the far post. When the ball came over, Nakazawa really attacked it and hit the target with a powerful header, proving again his value at both ends of the pitch.

The second was even better. Kengo Nakamura changed the direction of attack and Komano, breaking down the right, sent over a magnificent cross to the near post, where Takahara headed home in spectacular style.

A couple of minutes earlier, Komano had crossed too deep, and Takahara had shown his frustration by pointing to the near post. Komano adjusted his sights quickly and served up a perfect ball next time for Taka to head home.

Once again Komano was my man of the match, like he had been against Peru. Starting the match at right back and finishing it on the opposite flank following the introduction of Mizuno, Komano has established himself as a key player for Osim with his energy, intensity and versatility. He also knows when to clear the ball from dangerous situations or when to pass and move from deep, and he has a first-class attitude. Troussier would have loved Komano in his squad as he is the ultimate team player who just gets on with his job.

Osim's style of play demands quick minds and reactions as well as fast legs, and one step forward I noticed against Montenegro was how the players were in position to pick up the scraps from a move that falters. Playing at such pace and with such movement and intricate passing, mistakes will inevitably occur, but Japan's players have learned to read the situation and anticipate the break down.

Montenegro, it must be said, looked slow and lacked flair, but any team from the former Yugoslavia knows the game and deserves respect.

Japan's midfield pressing, though, put them under too much pressure, and prevented them from building any rhythm.

Colombia should be stronger at Saitama on Tuesday night -- but so should Japan.


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