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Honda scores 2 goals, Japan rallies past Zambia

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 6, 2014 at 9:46 pm •  Published: June 6, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Keisuke Honda had two goals and Yoshito Okubo scored in the 91st minute, giving Japan a 4-3 victory over Zambia in its final warm-up for the World Cup on Friday night.

Honda and Shinji Kagawa delivered within a two-minute span of the second half, helping Japan take a lead and seemingly control of the match after falling behind 2-0 in the first 29 minutes.

Zambia's Lubambo Musonda made it 3-3 in the 89th minute, but Japan wasn't finished. Toshihiro Aoyama set up the winner with a pass from near midfield, with Okubo using his left foot to control the ball and set off a celebration among Japan fans in the crowd of 7,275 with a shot from in front of the net.

Honda also scored on a penalty kick in the opening half after Zambia, which is not bound for Brazil for soccer's biggest tournament, build its lead on Christopher Katongo's header in the ninth minute and Nathan Sinkala's goal 10 minutes later.

Japan plays Ivory Coast in its World Cup opener on June 14. It also will face Greece and Colombia in the group stage, hoping to build on a promising showing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The Asian champions beat Cameroon and Denmark before losing to Paraguay in the knockout round.

Kagawa, Yasuhito Endo and Yoichiro Kakitani scored second-half goals to help Japan rally past Costa Rica 3-1 in the first of two warm-up matches the team played in Tampa to prepare for the World Cup. Friday's comeback was sparked by Honda's penalty kick, which trimmed Zambia's lead to 2-1 in the 40th minute.

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