Guangzhou, Nov 16 (IANS) Two-time gold medallist India were knocked out of the Asian Games football with a 0-5 thrashing from tournament favourites Japan in the pre-quarterfinals here Tuesday.
Riding high after a 4-1 win over Singapore in their last group match, India were grounded by a superior Japanese side, who outpaced the rivals.
Japan maintained their winning streak with World Cup star Kensuke Nagai (17th, 51st) striking a brace while Ryohei Yamazaki (28th), Kazuya Yamamura (45th) and Kota Mizunuma (63rd) scored goal apiece at the Huangpu Stadium.
India have a better Asian Games record, having won titles in 1951 and 1962 and a bronze medal in 1970 while Japan are still seeking their maiden Asiad gold.
Japan have now emerged as a top footballing nation in Asia and Tuesday proved that history does not matter in sports.
Yamazaki came close to open the scoring in the 15th minute when his scorching right-footer from 30 yards hit the bar. Two minutes later, Nagai struck and in the 28th minute Yamazaki back-heeled from a rebound after the Indian defence failed to clear the ball off the line.
Japan went into break with a 3-0 lead after Yamamura headed home a perfect cross from Keigo Higashi in the dying minutes of the first half.
Soon after the break, Nagai got his second goal and Mizunuma added the fifth in the 63rd minute before the Indian defence re-organised themselves to prevent a more embarrassing scoreline.