First half goals from debutant Miki Yamane and Daichi Kamada set Japan up for a comfortable 3-0 friendly win over great rivals South Korea at Yokohama International Stadium on Thursday evening.
Missing injured captain Son Heung-min, the South Koreans were second best throughout as Japan pressed and harried the visitors to secure a convincing win.
It took a little more than 16 minutes for Hajime Moriyasu’s side to claim the lead as Yuya Osako capitalised on hesitation in the Korean defence to cleverly heel the ball into the path of the advanced Yamane.
The Kawasaki Frontale full back, making his first start for Japan, struck with confidence, smashing his right foot shot beyond Jo Hyeon-woo and in off the underside of the bar.
Ten minutes later the Japanese scored the second, their superiority deserved when more uncertainty in South Korea’s lacklustre defence was punished.
Osako was again involved, feeding the ball to Kamada, who advanced unchallenged into the Korean penalty area before hitting a low shot that beat Jo and went in off the inside of the right post.
South Korea were spared further pain when Takumi Minamino, the Liverpool playmaker currently on loan at Southampton, missed several chances to extend the home side’s advantage.
The former RB Salzburg man bent his 49th minute effort wide despite having time and space to do better and, 20 minutes from time, failed again to find the target with a similar effort.
The Japanese did eventually score a third when Wataru Endo headed in unmarked following Ataru Esaka’s 83rd minute corner.
The two nations are currently preparing for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, with Japan due to take on Mongolia in Chiba on March 30. South Korea’s next World Cup qualifying match will be against Turkmenistan on June 3.