NIIGATA - Japan survived a late
salvo from Peru to cling on for a 0-0 home draw on Wednesday in
their first full international since winning a record fourth
Asian Cup in January.
The cobwebs showed as the Blue Samurai struggled to
penetrate a spirited Peru side in their first official game
since March's deadly earthquake and tsunami.
The South Americans hit the post twice late on in rain-swept
Niigata after Japan substitute Ryota Moriwaki had almost put
through his own goal in the 83rd minute.
Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima tipped a volley from striker
Raul Ruidiaz against the post before Luiz Ramirez's header came
back off the post seconds later.
The home side came closest to scoring when substitute
Keisuke Honda blazed a free-kick just over 10 minutes into the
second half in front of 39,000 at Big Swan World Cup stadium.
Japan's Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni did at least have
the consolation of seeing his side stretch their unbeaten home
run under his charge to a record 13.
Peru take on the Czech Republic in the next game of the
three-nation Kirin Cup in Nagano on Saturday before Japan face
the Czechs in Yokohama on June 7.
Montenegro and New Zealand both pulled the plug on
friendlies in Japan at the end of March citing the potential
risk posed by the nuclear crisis raging north of Tokyo.
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