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Tunisia beat Japan to win Kirin Cup


Osaka (Japan) (AFP) – Tunisia stepped up their World Cup preparations with a 3-0 win over Japan in Osaka on Tuesday to finish first in the four-team Kirin Cup tournament.

Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane scored a penalty 10 minutes into the second half before Ferjani Sassi and Ali Maaloul scored to round off an impressive victory for the North Africans.

Tunisia have been drawn with France, Denmark and Australia in World Cup Group D and they can reflect on a productive trip to Japan this month after also beating Chile 2-0 in last Friday’s semi-final.

Tunisia and Japan, who are also bound for Qatar, both struggled to create clear-cut chances in a tight first half.

Japan forward Takumi Minamino could only manage a fresh-air shot when the ball dropped invitingly to him in the box midway through the first half.

Daichi Kamada was guilty of an even worse miss when he slid in at the back post 10 minutes later with the goal at his mercy.

Minamino put the ball into the net at the end of the first half, only for the linesman to flag him for offside.

Tunisia made Japan pay 10 minutes after the restart when Anis Ben Slimane released Taha Yassine Khenissi into the box and Maya Yoshida took him down with a poorly timed challenge.

Romdhane stepped up and smashed the penalty past goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt.

Japan then handed Tunisia a second when a defensive mix-up between Yoshida and Ko Itakura let Youssef Msakni steal into the box, and Sassi was in position to finish off his pass.

Maaloul put the icing on the cake for Tunisia when he made it three after a break on the counter in injury time.

In the day’s earlier game between beaten semi-finalists, Ghana beat Chile 3-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Ghana, who have also qualified for the World Cup, finished the game with nine men after Alidu Seidu and Mubarak Wakaso were sent off.

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