Takefusa Kubo was the star of the show at the 2018 J.League Asia Challenge in Indonesia on 27 January, finding the net twice as FC Tokyo beat Bhayangkara FC 4-2 in front of 35,010 fans in Jakarta.
Masato Morishige headed Tokyo into the lead after just three minutes, flicking home an in-swinging free-kick from Kosuke Ota, but the reigning Indonesian Liga 1 champions battled back impressively, equalising through a David da Silva penalty in the 54th minute and then moving in front after Marinus Wanewar struck from close range a quarter of an hour later.
Substitute Kubo restored parity within five minutes though, converting crisply from just inside the area, before Ryoichi Maeda made it 3-2 in the 84th minute. Sixteen-year-old Kubo then wrapped up the win deep into stoppage time, drilling home an instinctive low strike from the edge of the box.
The match formed part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of diplomatic relations between Japan and Indonesia, and during their visit the Tokyo players and staff also carried out a football clinic for children and attended a reception at the ambassador’s residence.
Kenta Hasegawa’s side arrived in the country three days ahead of the match, having swapped the below-freezing temperatures of Japan’s capital for the 31-degree heat of its Indonesian counterpart, and took a strong 17-man squad to Jakarta, including new signings Kotaro Omori, Cayman Togashi, and Diego Oliveira.
This was the second installment of the J.League Asia Challenge after last year’s edition in Thailand, and it will continue next year as the J.League’s Asian strategy continues to build strong bonds with the increasing number of countries with tie-ups with the J.League.