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Gaku and Omeruo, closing on World Cup qualifications

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17/11/2021 10:16

C.D. Leganés players Gaku Shibasaki and Kenneth Omeruo return to the Butarque following their international duties in the November qualifying round. Both the Japanese and Nigerian are back after bolstering their nation's bid to reach the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Japan in second, Nigeria through to the last round

Gaku Shibasaki featured in both of Japan's qualifiers this round, with both concluding victoriously to deliver the Samurai Blues to second place and direct qualification for the World Cup, though Australia dog them only a point behind with four matchdays still to go. The Pepinero centre midfielder played the final 15 of the triumph over Vietnam (0-1) and the first half of Japan's win over Oman (0-1).

Kenneth Omeruo was not named in either of the two lineups that saw out Nigeria's run in the second qualifying phase of CONCACAF. The Super Eagles went unbeaten, beating Liberia (0-2) and drawing to Cape Verde (1-1), results that secured their premiership in the group and a ticket to the third and final qualifying round in Africa due to commence in March with a single round-robin structure to determine who heads to Qatar. Gaku and Omeruo return to Mehdi Nafti's camp and will be available for Monday's fixture at 21:00 against Real Zaragoza. 

Bárcenas-less Panama fight on, Randjelovic's Serbia safe and Doukouré's Ivory Coast disqualified

The other regular international Pepinero, Panamanian Yoel Bárcenas, did not join his national selection for their qualifiers, but his presence was not missed as the side went on to win against Honduras (3-2) and El Salvador (2-1), to take them into fourth and direct qualification for Qatar.

Other recently capped Pepineros include Lazar Randjelović (who made his first appearance for Serbia just a year ago), who will be celebrating Mitrović's winner over Portugal that guaranteed their qualification. Yet Ivorian Cheick Doukouré (21 caps), will not have the chance to make Qatar as his nation fell short in Cameroon and cannot qualify.