Football: Lions silenced 3-0 at Kallang by rampant Japan side in World Cup qualifier

Japan's Mu Kanazaki (right) celebrates Japan's opening goal during the Singapore versus Japan World Cup Qualifier match in Singapore on Nov 12, 2015.
Japan's Mu Kanazaki (right) celebrates Japan's opening goal during the Singapore versus Japan World Cup Qualifier match in Singapore on Nov 12, 2015.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE - Japan had vowed vengeance and kept their word by beating Singapore 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium on Thursday.

There was tension between Samurai Blue coach Vahid Halilhodzic and the Japanese media before the game, with the press slamming him for taking things lightly in the Group E encounter between the two teams in Saitama five months ago, which ended 0-0.

But there was no mercy for the Lions at Kallang as the visitors stormed to a two-goal lead before half-time.

Forward Mu Kanazaki volleyed emphatically past the despairing dive of goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud in the 20th minute, connecting with Yoshinori Muto's cushion from the right after left-back Shakir Hamzah had missed his header, allowing AC Milan star Keisuke Honda to lob a cross in.

Six minutes later, Honda rammed home with his left foot from close range with the aid of a deflection off right-back Nazrul Nazari.

And three minutes before the final whistle, Usami Takashi's volley was steered into the net by Southampton full-back Maya Yoshida to round off a miserable night for Singapore.

Before the game, Singapore coach Bernd Stange was in confident mood and said this game would be "party time".

But the German was forced to eat his words after Japan outclassed his side, forcing the Lions to defend deep and rarely venturing out of their half.

Singapore had to wait until the 72nd minute to threaten Japan when midfielder Hafiz Sujad glanced narrowly wide after Faris Ramli had whipped in a teasing cross from the right flank.

The Lions remain third in the five-team Group E with 10 points from six matches.

Japan top the standings on 13 points, one ahead of Syria.

Singapore will host Syria at Kallang on Tuesday.