OSAKA: Japan coach Hajjime Moriyasu said he wanted to “build a team that can control games” after his side threw away an early lead to lose 2-1 to Colombia in a friendly on Tuesday.
Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma put Japan ahead with a towering header in the third minute in Osaka but Colombia equalized later in the first half through Aston Villa teenager Jhon Duran.
Rafael Borre then scored a spectacular overhead winner just after the hour mark, launching himself into a right-footed strike that whistled past Japan goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt.
Japan drew 1-1 with Uruguay in Tokyo last week and Moriyasu said he was frustrated not to claim a win in his team’s first home games since reaching the World Cup last 16 in Qatar in December.
“We were aiming for the win, we prepared well and we scored the opening goal, so it was disappointing not to win that game,” he said.
“We’re aiming to win no matter the situation. I want to build a team that can control games,” he added.
Mitoma has been in scintillating form since joining Brighton last summer and he gave Japan the perfect start when he rose to thump Hidemasa Morita’s cross past Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.
“It was a great cross from Morita and all I had to do was get on the end of it,” said Mitoma, who has scored six goals in the Premier League this season.
“We scored at a good time but the way the game played out after that is something we have to work on.”
Colombia saw little of the ball in the first half but they equalized in the 33rd minute when Deiver Machado raided down the left before cutting the ball back for Duran to sweep home.
Colombia showed more attacking intent after the break and Jorge Carrascal almost scored with a deflected shot that looped up and over the crossbar.
Borre showed him how it was done just minutes later, and Colombia held on to their lead when Vargas kept out Japan striker Ayase Ueda’s header with a point-blank save.
“Uruguay and Colombia were great opponents for us and we all felt how hard they go in for the ball,” said Japan’s Ko Itakura, acting as captain with Maya Yoshida and other veterans not called up for the two games.
“Now I want us all to go back to our clubs and raise our level individually.”