Zaccheroni praise for Kagawa
Coach Alberto Zaccheroni hailed the performance of Shinji Kagawa after the Borussia Dortmund forward announced his presence at the AFC Asian Cup with a brace that helped 10-man Japan book their place in the semi-finals following a 3-2 win over Qatar.
The highly-rated 21-year-old struck in the 28th minute to cancel out Sebastian Soria's opener before again scoring Japan's equaliser after a Fabio Cesar free-kick had restored the lead for Qatar just after the hour. Kagawa was then fouled inside the box by a Qatar defender but Masahiko Inoha was on hand to sweep home Japan's winner.
And Zaccheroni praised the contribution of the young striker, delighted that he has finally got the goals his performances at the Asian Cup have deserved. "I know what he can do on the pitch and what he can do for the team," said the Italian. "The way he performed today I am very satisfied. In the first half he did not really show what he can do on the pitch but in the second half he did."
Japan were certainly pushed all the way by a Qatar side that was clearly buoyed by the backing of almost 20,000 fans at Al Gharafa Stadium. Maya Yoshida's dismissal, which led to the hosts' second goal, could have proved costly for the Blue Samurai and Zaccheroni acknowledged that his players need to cut out mistakes if they are to maintain their charge for the title.
"I expected the Qatar team to have momentum because they are the host of this tournament," added the former AC Milan boss. "We could not play as we want all the time, but it depended on the situation. "We passed the ball to each other in defence too often and we needed to bring the ball to the forward more. Qatar also played well but their second goal was not really a strong shot and we conceded. This is something we need to work on and improve."
Qatar have received increased attention during the tournament after they were awarded the hosting rights for 2022 FIFA World Cup™, and Metsu feels his players can be proud of how they have represented themselves. "We played very well against Japan. We frightened them and we were very skilful in the match," said the Frenchman. "We have shown the whole world that Qatar is a strong team. We showed that we can play good football."