Image Source : AP

Japan’s Ritsu Doan, left, and teammate Reo Hatate, second from left, celebrates a goal from Takefusa Kubo

An empty stadium is not how Japanese athletes imagined competing for the first time in Tokyo at their home Olympics.

At least the men’s soccer team won on Thursday — a day before the opening ceremony of the pandemic-impacted games.

Takefusa Kubo scored the only goal with a curling strike off the post in the 71st minute that clinched a 1-0 victory over South Africa at the Tokyo Stadium.

Kubo is a 20-year-old forward signed up to Real Madrid who has yet to play for the Spanish giants while gaining the first-team experience elsewhere in La Liga. In the other Group A game, Mexico beat France 4-1.

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