Japan defeated Zambia in a 4-3 thriller on Friday that featured two goals worth watching well before Yoshito Okubo buried the winner in stoppage time.
First, Nathan Sinkala of Zambia had the benefit of a well-designed dummy off a corner kick to put Zambia into a 2-0 lead.
But Shinji Kagawa — yes, that Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United fame — buried a curler to tie the score at 2.
Kagawa’s goal also benefited from a fake, though the intentions on this one aren’t clear as to whether the runner thought he could deflect it home.
Oh, and backflips!!
The Ghanians booked their ticket into the knockout round of Africa’s World Cup qualifying with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Zambia.
Young Spartak Moscow striker Abdul Waris headed in the opener for Ghana in the 17th minute on a volleyed cross from John Boye.
The winner came from Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah (pictured, playing with Juventus) after 60 minutes when the 24-year-old decided to blast a shot from ridiculously long range, finding the bottom right corner.
Zambia, the winners of the 2012 African Nations Cup, grabbed a consolation in the 77th minute via Nathan Sinkala, but they could not overcome the Black Stars who have secured the Group D and now have a chance to make their third straight World Cup.
In the African format, ten groups of four make up the tables, and each group winner advances to a knockout match for five spots. Also already through are Bob Bradley’s Egypt, Algeria and Ivory Coast.
Most of the final round of games are set to be played tomorrow. Ethiopia and Congo would go through with wins. The winners of Senegal vs. Uganda, Nigeria vs. Malawi, and Tunisia vs. Cape Verde Islands all go through as well.
Here are the goals from Ghana’s win: