World Cup: Itakura and Japan knocked out in the round of 16
Japan are out of the World Cup at the round of 16 stage. Ko Itakura missed the defeat to Croatia on penalties due to suspension.
The final away game of the year saw the Foals downed 2-1 by VfL Bochum. Alassane Plea’s goal in the second half wasn’t enough to mount a successful comeback for Daniel Fark’s side.
26,000 fans were at the sold-out Vonovia Ruhrstadion on a cold Tuesday night, and Borussia were caught cold in the opening stages themselves. Chstopher Antwi-Adjei opened the scoring after seven minutes, before Philipp Hofmann doubled the lead just four minutes later following a defensive misunderstanding. Gladbach soon started to find their footing and created a couple of chances towards the end of the half. A route back into the game was provided when Alassane Plea picked out the bottom corner in the 62nd minute, and it looked like Ramy Bensebaini had completed the comeback with a header from Jonas Hofmann’s cross with eight minutes left, but VAR controversially deemed the German to be in an offside position and the equaliser was chalked off to leave the Foals empty-handed.
Daniel Farke made two enforced changes to the side that won 3-1 over VfB Stuttgart on the weekend. Tobias Sippel was absent with muscular problems, meaning U23s goalkeeper Jan Olschowsky made his first-team debut. Tony Jantschke was also sidelined with a bruised thigh, although Nico Elvedi returned from illness to replace him and joined Joe Scally, Marvin Friedrich, Elvedi and Ramy Bensebaini in the back-four. It was as you were from midfield onwards: Julian Weigl partnered Manu Koné, while Jonas Hofmann, Christoph Kramer and Alassane Plea supported lone striker Marcus Thuram in attack.
Apart from Sippel and Jantschke, the Foals were also without Florian Neuhaus, Ko Itakura (both knee), Hannes Wolf (shoulder), Yann Sommer (ankle) and Conor Noß (Covid-19). Stefan Lainer was back in the matchday squad after recovering from coronavirus and was joined on the bench by U19s goalkeeper Florian Dimmer for the first time
3’:A first chance for the hosts. Ordets flicks on a free-kick towards the back post and Lampropoulos is inches away from connecting with it.
7’: Early opener. A ball in behind beats the offside trap and Antwi-Adjei keeps his keep to tuck the ball past Olschowsky. The flag initially goes up, but VAR awards the goal. 1-0 to Bochum.
11’: Elvedi miscues a pass back to Olschowsky and Philipp Hofmann nips in between to steal the ball and finish into the empty net. 2-0 to Bochum.
16’:Thuram rises highest at the back post from a corner and heads the ball into the arms of Riemann from a tight angle.
43’: Koné is played in by Thuram and looks for goal, but his effort is some way wide of the target.
45’: Kramer crosses into the middle where both Elvedi and Bensebaini are free, but they perhaps put each other off and the latter heads over.
51’: Ordets heads a free-kick whipped in from the left flank onto the far post.
53’: Plea unleashes a powerful shot from around 20 yards, but can’t keep it down.
62’: Hofmann blocks a defensive clearance and the ball lands at Thuram’s feet. He feeds the overlapping Plea, whose first-time finish finds the bottom corner. 2-1.
69’: Anwti-Adjei’s deflected shot is poked home by Losilla at point-blank range, but the flag correctly goes up for offside.
82’: A corner from Hofmann finds its way back to him, and his second cross is headed in by Bensebaini. VAR takes another look at it and rules that Hofmann was offside from Kramer’s header, even though a Bochum player then cleared the ball back to him.
Bochum: Riemann – Gamboa, Lampropoulos, Ordets, Danilo Soares (77' Horn) – Losilla, Stöger – Zoller (77' Osterhage), Förster (71' Stafylidis), Antwi-Adjei (71' Holtmann) – P. Hofmann // Unused subs: Esser, Oermann, Osei-Tutu, Bonga, Ganvoula
Borussia: Olschowsky – Scally (80' Herrmann), Friedrich, Elvedi, Bensebaini – Weigl, Koné – Hofmann, Kramer (80' Stindl), Plea – Thuram // Unused subs: Dimmer, Lainer, Ngoumou, Netz, Fraulo, Reitz, Borges Sanches
Goals: 1-0 Antwi-Adjei (7'), 2-0 P. Hofmann (11'), 2-1 Plea (62')
Attendance: 26,000 (Vonovia Ruhrstadion)
Yellow cards: Losilla – Friedrich, Plea, Kramer
Referee: Daniel Schlager