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Monday, Feb. 20, 2012

Miyaichi leads Bolton into F.A. Cup quarters

Kyodo, AP

LONDON — On-loan winger Ryo Miyaichi took center stage with an early goal in his first start for Bolton Wanderers on Saturday as the Premier League strugglers beat second-tier Millwall 2-0 away to advance to the quarterfinals of the F.A. Cup.

News photo
On borrowed time: Bolton's Ryo Miyaichi celebrates with Gretar Steinsson after their side's F.A. Cup victory over Millwall on Saturday. Miyaichi scored the first goal in the 2-0 win. KYODO

The fleet-footed 19-year-old latched onto a quick free-kick from Sam Ricketts and finished with great composure after just three minutes at the New Den before a long-range effort from David Ngog in the second half wrapped up a routine victory.

"I was able to put the ball away well and I think it was a good goal. I'm relieved that I have scored and I think this is the first step for me," said Miyaichi, who is set to get his first callup to the Japan national team for a World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan later this month.

Arsenal shipped Miyaichi to Bolton on loan for the remainder of the season on European winter transfer deadline day.

"All that training with the superstars at Arsenal hasn't gone to waste," he said.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle, meanwhile, was naturally delighted with Miyaichi's contribution.

"His second-half performance against Wigan last week was terrific, and from that moment there was no doubt he was going to start today," he said.

"He showed what a talent he is. There's other stuff he can learn, but he's brave and tough — he stood up to some of the treatment he got today — and he always plays with a smile on his face, which I absolutely love."

Coyle said he had been a long-term admirer of Miyaichi's and was determined to get him on loan from the Gunners.

"First and foremost I am a football fan and I want to be excited by some of the players I've got in my team, and Ryo Miyaichi certainly does that," he said.

"In football terms he is a baby, a kid. I saw when Arsenal brought him in and then watched him on loan at Feyenoord last year, and he always caught my eye.

"I spoke to Arsene (Wenger) a few times about him and did everything I could to get him to the football club."

Arsenal lost to Sunderland 2-0 in the fifth round, leaving the English Premier League club facing a seventh straight season without a trophy.

Arsenal is 17 points behind league leader Manchester City and lost the first leg of its Champions League knockout match 4-0 at AC Milan this week.

Chelsea drew 1-1 with Birmingham and must go to a replay, further threatening the job security of coach Andre Villas-Boas.

Second-tier Leicester eliminated Norwich with a 2-1 win at the Premier League club and Everton beat Blackpool 2-0.

Elsewhere, Tadanari Lee opened his account in his third game for Southampton, the Japan striker wrapping up the scoring as the Saints thrashed Derby County 4-0 to move two points clear at the top of the second-tier English Championship.

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