New Zealand’s Football Ferns came off second best, losing 2-0 in their international friendly against Japan on Sunday.
The Ferns were on the back foot from the start and goalkeeper Victoria Esson needed to turn a shot past the post in the third minute.
Main photo: Esson’s touch is just enough to divert the ball from its target early in the game.
The Japanese players were quick and always looked the more dangerous of the two sides at the Nagano U Stadium.
Pressure eventually paid off for the home side when they went ahead a minute before half-time.
Japan’s Jun Endo won the ball and played a deft one-two with a teammate, providing Hinata Miyazwawa with a clean shot that went past Esson and inside the far corner of the goal.
New Zealand had their best chance of the game at the start of the second half when an Olivia Chance corner swung into a crowded box and Hannah Wilkonson’s touch saw the ball rebound off the post before it was cleared to safety.
Japan sealed the result with a second goal on the hour when substitute Fuka Nagano pinged an accurate cross into the New Zealand box where Riiko Ueki climbed high and in front of defender Liz Anton to turn the ball past Esson.
The home side might have had two goals as the game neared the final whistle when a shot thundered off the cross bar and a second attempt was fired high over the goal.
Game played on Sunday October 9, 2022
Japan 2 (Hinata Miyazawa 44’, Riko Ueki 61’)
New Zealand 0
Football Ferns squad
Elizabeth Anton; Perth Glory, Australia
Mackenzie Barry; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Hannah Blake; University of Michigan, USA
Katie Bowen; North Carolina Courage, USA
Claudia Bunge; Melbourne Victory FC, Australia
Olivia Chance; Celtic FC, Scotland
Victoria Esson; Rangers FC, Scotland
Ally Green; Vålerenga, Norway
Betsy Hassett; Stjarnan, Iceland
Grace Jale; Canberra United, Australia
Anna Leat; Aston Villa FC, England
Meikayla Moore; Glasgow City FC, Scotland
Erin Nayler; Umeå IK, Sweden
Ali Riley; Angel City FC, USA
Indiah-Paige Riley; Fortuna Hjorring, Denmark
Emma Rolston; Avaldsnes IL, Norway
Paige Satchell; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Malia Steinmetz; Western Sydney Wanderers, Australia
Kate Taylor; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Hannah Wilkinson; Melbourne City FC, Australia
Alyssa Whinham; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ*
* First Ford Football Ferns call up
Selected for squad but could not play
Gabi Rennie; Arizona State University, USA (COVID-19)
CJ Bott; Leicester City, England (injury)
Jacqui Hand; Åland United, Finland (injury)