Substitute Ismail Al Hammadi scored a 77th-minute equaliser to earn United Arab Emirates a 1-1 draw with Japan in a warm-up for the sides' forthcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers. The forward fired home between defenders from his team's first and only shot in the second half.
Only five minutes earlier, Shinzo Koroki's effort hit the right-hand post, but Japan did find the target just moment later. Atsuto Uchida produced a cross for midfielder Shinji Kagawa to give them the lead.
"I received a nice ball, I just needed to flick in. But I had more chances to score another goal, so I was very disappointed," said Kagawa.
Japan took control from the outset, having three attempts on goal in the first 15 minutes. Thereafter, defender Shuhei Terada's header off Makoto Hasebe's free-kick went narrowly wide, while forward Keiji Tamada's shot was saved by goalkeeper Majed Naser in the 41st minute.
United Arab Emirates had to wait 33 minutes for their first shot, but striker Mohamed Al Shehhi failed to trouble the Japanese goalkeeper from distance. The visitors improved after the break, although they failed to threaten their opponents' goal until Al Hammadi equalised.
"United Arab Emirates were defensive in the first half, so we were a bit relaxed and slow to start our attacks. We tried to put pressure through our forwards in the second half," said Japan coach Takeshi Okada.
"We managed to attack from both sides. That was good, but ," he added. Japan now have four wins, seven draws and two defeats against the UAE.
Okada's side will take on Uzbekistan in Saitama in their next South Africa 2010 qualifier on Wednesday. United Arab Emirates, meantime, will visit Korea Republic.
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