Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa ruled out of Japan tie – but Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi fit for Oman

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester United’s playmaker Shinji Kagawa is being forced out the Japan squad with injury, but Wigan Athletic’s goalkeeper has been declared fit to play for Oman.

The international fixture sees countries across Europe try out new tactics with a series of friendlies, but Japan are hunting qualification for the Asian World Cup.

And Kagawa has failed to recover from a knee injury sustained during the 3-2 victory of Braga in the Champions League last month – but Oman will be boosted by the return of their hero keeper Ali Al Habsi.

Japanese manager Alberto Zaccheroni is hoping to continue their unbeaten run in the qualification run, but warned that they cannot sit back against the minnows.

“The game at Oman will be important for us,” he told the Japan FA. “We are going to have three away matches in the latter half of the qualifiers and it will be down to how many points we can collect in those away games.

“Oman work well as a unit and have good composure. They played defensively at Saitama but usually they come out to attack. We’ll have to concentrate against Oman.”

Al Habsi played with a shoulder injury during Wigan’s defeat to West Brom on Saturday, but passed a fitness test to help Oman fend off competition from Japan.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.

Related Articles