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Japan wins AFC U-16 Championship by defeating Tajikistan 1-0
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 7 -- Japan ended the dream performance of Tajikistan at the final of AFC U-16 Championship on Sunday, winning the title by 1-0 at Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Japan's No. 10 Jun Nishikawa delivered the winning goal at 63rd minute with a nice finish just six yards outside the box, helping his team to win the tournament title for the third time after 1994 and 2006.
Japan took control of the match, which was played in the rain, but was held back by Tajikistan's brilliant counterattacks in the first half. Japan continued to put on pressure in the second half, and found the back of the net at the 58th minute but the goal was flagged offside. Nonetheless, its effort soon paid off with Nishikawa's winning goal.
The two teams met in the group stage with a goalless draw.
It was the only none-winning match throughout the tournament for Japan, which defeated Australia 3-1 in the semifinal.
Despite losing the last game, the young players of Tajikistan could return home with their heads held high, after bouncing back from the astonishing 6-2 defeat by the host Malaysia in the opening match, and later eliminated DPRK and South Korea with penalty shootouts in quarterfinal and semifinal.
A total of 16 teams took part in this year's AFC U-16 Championship, with the top four teams of the tournament qualified for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru as the AFC representatives.