Japan took a big step towards the 2010 World Cup when they defeated Bahrain 1-0 in an Asian qualifying round Group A match on Saturday.
Forward Keiji Tamada was brought down just outside the Bahrain area.
Nakamura tapped a short ball on a free kick to Yasuhito Endo, then received the ball back again and walloped it into Abdulla Marzooq, the ball looping over goalkeeper Sayed Mohamed Jaafar into the net.
Earlier, with three forwards, the Japanese played aggressive from the beginning but found it difficult to break the last line of defence.
Bahrain's best chance was a counter-attack in the 14th minute as midfielder Abdulla Fatadi's sizzling shot went wide -- their first clear-cut shot on goal.
After taking the lead, defender Atsuto Uchida was free in front of the Bahrain goalmouth, but failed to hit a shot in the 54th minute, while forward Tatsuya Tanaka's shot was saved by Jaafar four minutes later.
In the 64th minute, Japan countered well but Uchida's shot hit the bar.
The Japanese have now three wins and two draws for 11 points to lead in the five-team Group A competition, overtaking Australia's 10 points.
Australia were to play Uzbekistan at home next week.
Bahrain stood with one win, one draw and three defeats for four points.
The top two teams in the group will qualify for the World Cup in South Africa, while the third-placed team will have to survive playoffs.
In their next games, Japan will play Uzbekistan away on June 6, while Bahrain will meet Qatar at home on April 1.
Source: AFP Global Edition