Japan win in World Cup qualifying warm-up

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After a 16-month hiatus, World Cup qualifying in Asia has resumed with Tajikistan defeating Mongolia 3-0.

The second round of Asia's qualification tournament should have been completed in June 2020 but games were repeatedly postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tajikistan scored early when Manuchekhr Dzhalilov headed in a cross. Alisher Dzhalilov and Shahrom Samiev netted in the second half before a lively crowd of 14,000 at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe.

Tajikistan trail leaders Japan by two points in Group F. Mongolia were eliminated but travel to Japan for Tuesday's qualifier.

Japan warmed up for that match with a friendly against South Korea in Yokohama, and defeated the visitors 3-0 in front of 8,356 masked fans who were asked to refrain from cheering.

Miki Yamane and Daichi Kamada scored in the first half, and Wataru Endo added a third late in the game.

South Korea were missing several key players, including injured Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, but it was still a disappointing result for their coach Paulo Bento.

Also on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia play Palestine in the third qualifier to take place in March with the rest of the second round concluding in June.