March 27, 2018 / 2:41 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer: Japan lose to Ukraine in World Cup warm-up

LIEGE, Belgium (Reuters) - World Cup-bound Japan were left in no doubt about the large task ahead of them in Russia after being outplayed by Ukraine and losing 2-1 in a friendly on Tuesday.

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Kirin Challenge Cup 2018 - Japan vs Ukraine - Stadium Maurice Dufrasne, Liege, Belgium - March 27, 2018 Japan's Shoya Nakajima in action with Ukraine's Taras Stepanenko REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Oleksandr Karavaev ghosted into the penalty area to thump home a 69th-minute winner after a strong run down the left by Yevhen Konoplyanka to seal victory for Ukraine, who missed out on qualifying for this year’s World Cup in neighbouring Russia.

Ukraine took a 21st-minute lead when Yaroslav Rakitskiy’s long-range shot took a deflection but Japan were level at halftime after a glancing header by Tomoaki Makino from a 41st- minute free kick.

The Japanese used Standard Liege’s stadium as their base for two warm-up games having snatched a last-gasp draw with Mali on Friday.

Japan play Colombia in their opening World Cup game in Saransk on June 19 before taking facing Senegal and Poland in Group H.

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Kirin Challenge Cup 2018 - Japan vs Ukraine - Stadium Maurice Dufrasne, Liege, Belgium - March 27, 2018 Ukraine's Vitaliy Buyalskiy in action with Japan's Tomoaki Makino. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond

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