Japan held by ten-man Greece

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The result will benefit Africa’s hopefuls Ivory Coast  as the draw still leaves them in second place in Group C.

The game got off to a cagey start with Japan looking the strongest of the two teams.  The best early chance came from Yuya Osako whose curling shot struck from just outside the box went narrowly wide.

Katsouranis earned his first yellow after tripping Osako. The yellow that changed the game occurred when Katsouranis mistimed a tackle in middle of the park on Makoto Hasebe forcing the referee to dismiss him.

Following the resulting red card, Greece had their best chance of the half with the Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima having to make an excellent save in order to deny Vasileios Torosidis’ powerful shot.  

Greece’s George Samaras started the second half by taking a harmless shot from the halfway line. Although Greece pushed forward at times Japan dominated possession, although they failed to make it count.

Greece enjoyed a series of three corners in quick succession on the hour mark. The last corner was met by a good header from Theofanis Gekas who forced Kawashima to make another fine save.

Japan’s best chance came in the 67 minute with fullback Yoshito Uchida crossing the ball to Atsuto Okubo only for him to head the ball wide.

Japan’s last decent chance of the evening came in the 89th minute, after they were giving a free kick within striking distance. Substitute Yasuhito Endo put in a fine curling effort, but Oretis Karnezis pulled off an excellent save.

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