Shoya Nakajima was the only player to see some action recently while Portimonense, no longer involved in either of the domestic Cup competitions, are still searching for suitable training opponents to fill the almost one/month-long break ahead of their next league match on December 2.
The much sought-after forward – Southampton, Leicester and Seville are said to be the most persistent suitors – was in the thick of the action from the start for Japan against Venezuela last Friday, going close to scoring on two occasions during the first half before setting up Sakai’s opener just before the interval.
The diminutive 24-year-old continued to prove a constant threat until taken off in the 65th minute, Rincon subsequently scoring the South Americans’ equaliser from the penalty spot ten minutes from time.
Nakajima then started Tuesday’s follow-up friendly against Kyrgyzstan from the bench but scored as soon as coming on in the 72nd minute to make it 4-0 in Japan’s favour. Furthermore, during the 20 minutes on the pitch, he ran rings around the opposition, providing half a dozen telling crosses while also winning three free kicks before the final whistle.
Should he still be on Portimonense’s books come the January transfer window, he is certain to be a vital component of the Japanese national team and, therefore, missing from league action for that month’s Asia Cup due to be played in the United Arab Emirates.
By SKIP BANDELE