Aussies out of the running for East Asian Cup after five goal thriller in Hwaseong.
Australia showed fighting spirit after a poor opening result, but were undone by the combination of Manabu Saito and Yuya Osako who guided Japan to a 3-2 win in the East Asian Cup.
The pace and technical ability of Alberto Zaccheroni’s side stood them apart from the Socceroos, who lacked match fitness.
Saito scored the only goal of a scrappy first half, the winger fired his first international goal high into the right-hand-side of the net on 27 minutes.
Australia started well, but Saito’s goal disrupted the rhythm of Holger Osieck’s young side, who failed to get a single shot on target, as Japan firmly deserved their half time lead.
They added a second on 55 minutes Osako finished a clever passing move with a slick dummy.
Central Coast Mariners’ Mitchell Duke looked dangerous throughout the game, a constant threat from the right, he pulled a goal back for the Socceroos on 75 minutes.
Tomi Juric equalised just two minutes later, Reuban Zadkovic and Mark Milligan combining well to set up the Western Syndey Wanderers striker.
Austrailia were caught napping almost instantly, Osako grabbing his second of the match on 78 minutes, the Kashima Antlers frontman rifling past Eugene Gailkovic to seal the match for the Blue Samurai.
Australia: Galekovic, Thwaite, Mcgowan, Milligan, Thompson, Vidosic, North, Zadkovich, Mckay, Duke, Franjic.
Japan: Gonda, Moriwaki, Tokunaga, Suzuki, Chiba, Takahashi, Ogihara, Yamada, Osako, Saito, Toyoda