TOKYO (Reuters) - Four-time Asian champions Japan were guilty of missing a string of chances before beating lowly Cambodia 3-0 in a lop-sided World Cup qualifier in Saitama on Thursday.
The Samurai Blue were hoping to put on a show after being held to a shock 0-0 home draw by outsiders Singapore in their opening Group E fixture in June, but finishing chances against their 180th Fifa-ranked opposition proved a problem.
Keisuke Honda eventually opened the scoring in the 28th minute, the attacking midfielder's 30th international goal, after being allowed too much time to set himself before firing a left foot shot from outside the area into the net.
Cambodia goalkeeper Sou Yaty should, though, have pushed the ball over the crossbar but seemed to misjudge the flight. The stopper, however, redeemed himself with numerous saves, including an impressive one to deny Shinji Okazaki in the first half.
With little defending to do, centre back Maya Yoshida stepped up to show the forwards how it is done by rifling a low right-foot drive from 22 metres past Sou to make it 2-0 in the 50th minute.
Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa then found his range when he angled home through a crowded penalty area 11 minutes later to seal a first competitive win for Vahid Halihodzic since being appointed Japan boss in March.
The three points took Japan, who have played at the last five World Cups, on to four points from two matches ahead of Tuesday's qualifier in Tehran against Afghanistan.
Only the group winners of the five-team pool, also featuring Syria, are guaranteed a spot in the next round of Asian qualifiers for Russia 2018.
In Hwaseong, new Tottenham signing Son Heung Min demonstrated his finishing abilities with a hat-trick as South Korea walloped lowly Laos 8-0 in their World Cup qualifier on Thursday.
The win was the Koreans second from two games in Group G ahead of Tuesday's away match in Lebanon. Kuwait and Myanmar are the two other teams in the group.
Australia also went on a goal spree, putting their recent problems behind them to thrash Bangladesh 5-0 in Perth.