Japan 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Sharjah: Japan stayed on track for a record-extending fifth title after defeating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Round of 16 tie at the Sharjah Stadium on Monday.

Defender Takehiro Tomiyasu’s thumping header in the 20th minute set up an enticing encounter with Vietnam, who beat Jordan on penalties, in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Three-time champions Saudi Arabia dominated the tie but Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men couldn’t find a way past the resolute Japanese defence as the West Asians wait – their last title having been won in 1996 – continues.

Saudi Arabia didn’t waste any time in getting into their groove as Mohammed Al Fatil sneaked in a header from the centre of the box from a set-piece situation, but the defender placed it wide of the mark.

Japan came close six minutes later with Ritsu Doan finding space in the danger area after collecting Takumi Minamino’s pass but saw his effort blocked by the Saudi defence.

Pizzi’s men increased their pace and could have gone in front in the 15th minute but Abdulaziz Al-Bishi and Hussain Almoqahwi squandered their chances.

Japan, having played mostly on the counter, upped their tempo and were rewarded with the opening goal in the 20th minute as Tomiyasu rose the highest to nod the ball home, his first goal for the Samurai Blue.

Stunned, Saudi Arabia took charge of possession but found the Maya Yoshida-marshalled Japanese defence impossible to breach.

With five minutes left in the half, Saudi had their best chance at goal when Hatan Bahebri muscled his way into the box, but his curling shot flew past the right post, as Japan stayed ahead going into the break.

The first half statistics had Saudi Arabia controlling 70 percent of possession and the West Asians maintained their stranglehold on the match in the second half, almost finding the equaliser through Salem Al Dawsari but Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda was equal to the effort.

Japan responded a minute later, Yoshida connecting with a header from Shibasaki’s delivery but Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais collected it safely.

Saudi Arabia continued to dominate possession but could not convert their chances with Salem Al Dawsari and Bahebri both failing to find the target.

The Green Falcons had another opportunity in the 73rd minute when Abdullah Otayf found Almoqahwi lurking in the box but the midfielder sent his header high above the bar as Japan soaked up the pressure to seal their quarter-final spot.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

IR Iran 2-0 Oman

Abu Dhabi: Islamic Republic of Iran booked their place in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 quarter-finals on Sunday thanks to a 2-0 win over a gallant Oman at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s smart finish and an Ashkan Dejagah spot-kick – both in the first half – helped secure Iran’s passage through to the last eight, on a night when Oman were left to rue an early penalty miss.

The victory leaves Carlos Queiroz’s charges still on track to win the nation’s first Continental title since 1976, and looking ahead to Thursday’s meeting with China PR in the next round after the East Asians beat Thailand earlier in the day.

In a sensational start to the game, Oman were awarded a penalty in only the third minute when Majid Hosseini brought down the rampaging Muhsen Al Ghassani, only for Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand to superbly tip Ahmed Al Mahaijri’s effort from 12 yards around the post.

Iran responded almost immediately through a fierce Sardar Azmoun drive from distance, and then a Mehdi Taremi effort which flashed narrowly wide.

With Dejagah excelling, Iran duly broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute, Jahanbakhsh firing home after Mohammed Al Musallami had failed to cut out Milad Mohammadi’s speculative long ball.

One was to become two for Iran just nine minutes later. Saad Al Mukhaini brought Taremi down in the area and Dejagah stepped up to convert the resulting penalty with ease and double Iran’s advantage.

In the final moments of a pulsating first period, Beiranvand produced yet another fine stop, this time to repel Al Ghassani’s piledriver as Oman sought to reduce the deficit heading into the break.

 

Iran could, and very possibly should, have extended their lead even further within eight minutes of the restart, but an unmarked Azmoun missed the target from 12 yards when Taremi’s long throw arrived at his feet.

Taremi then brought the best out of Oman custodian Faiyz Al Rusheidi, while at the other end Harib Al Saadi fizzed a 77th minute shot inches over Beiranvand’s bar to signal a degree of hope for the Omanis.

It was not be for the 2018 Gulf Cup winners however, as, after Taremi had missed a glorious chance to grab a third for Iran, the three-time champions of Asia held firm to confirm their place in the quarter-finals.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Thailand 1-2 China PR

Al Ain: Xiao Zhi came off the bench to inspire a second half come back for Marcello Lippi’s side on Sunday evening as China PR handed Thailand a 2-1 defeat to advance to the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Guangzhou R&F striker Xiao levelled the scores in thr 67th minute after Supachai Chaided had given Thailand the lead just after the half hour mark and Gao Lin secured the win for China with a penalty 20 minutes from time.

Xiao’s goal – the 100th of the tournament so far – was key for a China side that dominated the second half but were unable to find a way past Siwarak Tedsungnoen in the Thai goal until the arrival of the veteran forward, who finally ended Thailand’s resistence.

In the end it was a deserved win for a Chinese side that welcomed back Wu Lei to the starting line-up after missing the 2-0 loss against Korea Republic with a shoulder injury while Thailand called up Supachai for the injured Adisak Kraisorn.

Play quickly switched to the other end, with Supachai pushing his shot wide of Yan’s goal after Teerasil Dangda’s return header found the Buriram United man just the right side of Zhang Linpeng.

Supachai made amends in the 31st minute, however, as he gave Thailand the lead. The Chinese defence failed to properly clear Teerathon’s corner and, after Thitiphan Puangchan’s shot ended up at Supachai’s feet. He made no mistake on the turn from seven yards out.

 

Five minutes later Supachai could have added a second, only to drag his attempt from distance across Yan’s goal as the Chinese struggled in their attempt to win their first AFC Asian Cup knockout game since 2004.

Lippi’s team grew increasingly desperate throughout the second half and Wu Lei’s lack of match sharpness was becoming ever more apparent. The 27-year-old somehow missed a straightforward chance three minutes after the interval from six yards out after fine approach play by Gao Lin down the left.

 

China continued to press, with Yu heading wide before Siwarak denied the Beijing Guoan man with his feet following Feng Xiaoting’s cross, but eventually the equaliser came as Lippi intervened from the bench.

Yu Dabao made way for Xiao Zhi and, within three minutes, China were level as Zheng Zhi clipped his cross in from the right and Xiao scored on the rebound after Siwarak had saved the striker’s initial downward header.

 

By the 71st minute China were in front when Gao Lin (pictured above) picked himself up to score from the spot after having his heels clipped in the area by Tanaboon, the veteran forward firing high into the top corner to give his team the lead their second half performance deserved.

China threatened to add to the scoreline as the Thais grew increasingly ragged, although a flying save from Yan deep into injury time following Pansa Hemviboon’s shot ensured the East Asians progressed.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Jordan 1-1 Vietnam (After Extra Time, Vietnam win 4-2 on penalties)

Vietnam-Goal

Dubai: Vietnam sealed a place in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 quarter-finals, defeating Jordan 4-2 on penalties after their Round of 16 tie ended 1-1 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Sunday.

Up next for Vietnam will be the winners of the Japan-Saudi Arabia last 16 tie, with the quarter-final to be also played at Al Maktoum Stadium.

Both teams started positively as they went in search of an early goal with the first shot on target for Jordan and it came in the 17th minute when Baha’ Abdelrahman forced Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam into action.

Three minutes later, Jordan came close again when Mousa Mohammad Suleiman lured three defenders out of position before his back-heel pass found the unmarked Feras Zeyad Shilbaya, whose cross to Yaseen Mahmoud Bakheet saw his effort going wide.

Vietnam’s best chance came in the 35th minute with Doan Van Hau unleashing a left-footed strike after an exchange of passes with Nguyen Cong Phuong but Jordanian custodian Amer Shafi was quick to parry his shot.

Jordan took the lead in the 38th minute after Do Hung Dung brought Salem Alajalin down just outside the box, and Abdelrahman scored from the resultant free-kick with a cracker into the top right corner of the net.

Park Hang-seo’s Vietnam returned from the break a changed side as they held the lion’s share of possession.

Their hard work paid dividends just six minutes into the second half when Nguyen Trong Hoang sent in a curling cross in front of the goal mouth which Nguyen Cong Phuong squeezed past the Jordanian defenders for the equaliser.

Jordan survived a scare at the hour mark when Shilbaya failed to fully block Nguyen Quang Hai’s through pass but before Phan Van Duc could connect, other defenders cleared to keep the score level.

 

Neither side managed to find a route to goal in the remaining minutes, forcing the first ever AFC Asian Cup last-16 tie to go into extra-time.

Neither side was willing to take unnecessary risks in extra-time, with both goalkeepers hardly called into action as penalties were needed to decide the tie.

It was a case of who would blink first in the shoot-out and Jordan were the first to miss with Baha Seif striking the crossbar which was then followed by Ahmed Saleh’s effort saved by Vietnam goalkeeper Dang.

Vietnam’s Tran Minh Vuong then failed to put the game to bed with Vietnam’s fourth effort but Bùi Tien Dung made no mistake as the Southeast Asians marched into the quarter-finals.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Lebanon 4-1 DPR Korea

Sharjah: There was heartbreak for Lebanon despite coming from behind to defeat DPR Korea 4-1 in their final AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group E match at the Sharjah Stadium on Thursday, as victory was not enough to take them through to the knockout stage.

Lebanon lost out to Vietnam on the fairplay rule after both teams finished with identical points and goal difference.

Lebanon needed to win by four clear goals to advance but despite a valiant effort, they fell just short.

Lebanon had the first look at goal from a free-kick in the sixth minute but Hassan Maatouk saw his effort blocked by a sea of defenders.

Kim Yong-jun’s men seized the opportunity to get in front, when Pak Kwang-ryong converted his free-kick in the ninth minute to give DPR Korea an early advantage.

Lebanon, however refused to give in and levelled the score just before the half hour mark when Maatouk showcased some sublime dribbling skills down the left before laying off for George Felix Melki, who smashed the ball into the back of the net.

Lebanon asserted more pressure on their opponents and almost scored again but Hilal Alhelwe’s effort was cleared off the line in the 32nd minute.

DPR Korea looked vulnerable at the back as Lebanon continued to dominate possession but wasted several chance as both teams went into the break level.

It was end to end action in the opening minutes of the second half with both teams determined not to settle for a draw.

Lebanon, however, continued to dominate play with DPR Korea finding themselves in trouble at the back with Felix Melki coming close to scoring in the 57th minute but angled his header across the bar.

Miodrag Radulovic’s side finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute after Mohamad Haidar’s well-timed cross found an unmarked Alhelwe who turned to score from close range.

DPR Korea came under heavy pressure from the start of the second half as Lebanon attacked in numbers but the Cedars were unable to convert their chances in front of goal.

There was more agony for Kim’s charges as they conceded a penalty after Rabin Ataya was brought down in the danger area.

Maatouk converted the spot-kick in the 80th minute, sending goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk the wrong way, with a fourth coming in the seventh minute of added time through Hilal Alhelwe but there was no knockout stage joy for Lebanon.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Qatar

Abu Dhabi: Almoez Ali’s rich vein of form at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 continued on Thursday as he scored twice to help Qatar beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 and claim top spot in Group E.

The prolific 22-year-old struck either side of the break to take his tournament tally to seven on a night when Qatar registered a third successive group stage victory to head into the Round of 16 with momentum galore and leave their opponents occupying second place.

Qatar, quarter-finalists in 2000 and 2011, are now scheduled to meet Iraq in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, while three-time champions Saudi Arabia will face Japan in Sharjah a day earlier.

Both sides made a slow start to proceedings at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, with Mohammed Al Owais’ smart parry from Qatar midfielder Boualem Khoukhi’s fierce drive on 16 minutes the first genuine threat to either goal.

Hussain Al Moqahwi then blazed over the bar for Saudi Arabia following Yahya Al Shehri’s probing run and cross, before Fahad Al Muwallad struck an upright with Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb beaten.

Qatar were not to be denied however, and after Hasan Al Haydos had seen his 42nd minute penalty saved by Al Owais, hesitant Saudi defending allowed Abdelaziz Hatim’s through ball to find Almoez Ali who converted with ease to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time.

Within five minutes of the restart Hatan Bahbri forced Al Sheeb into a smart save and, as Saudi Arabia continued to search for an equaliser, the impressive Bahbri fizzed an effort from 15 yards narrowly over the bar on 73 minutes.

By way of contrast to Saudi Arabia’s frequent forays into the final third, Qatar’s opportunities were limited in the second period, although they were to extend their lead with 10 minutes remaining, Almoez Ali leaping highest to thump home a header from Hatim’s pinpoint corner.

It proved to be the final genuine goalmouth action, as Qatar, who once again kept a clean sheet, held on to seal another three points and further underline their title potential.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Japan 2-1 Uzbekistan

Al Ain: Japan underlined the depth of talent available to coach Hajime Moriyasu on Thursday evening as the four-time champions came back from a goal behind to defeat Uzbekistan 2-1 in Al Ain and secure top spot in Group F of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Yoshinori Muto and Tsukasa Shiotani scored for Japan after Eldor Shomurodov had given Uzbekistan the lead and Hector Cuper’s side will now face Australia in the Round of 16 while the Japanese will face the Group E runners-up, either Saudi Arabia or Qatar.

Moriyasu made 10 changes from the team that started the 1-0 win over Oman, with striker Koya Kitagawa the only player to survive the Japan coach’s decision to overhaul his line-up.

Despite that move, though, Japan retained their fluency throughout and spent much of the opening 45 minutes camped in the Uzbek half as Cuper’s team sat back, waiting to hit their opponents on the counter attack.

Junya Ito threatened early on and Takashi Inui, making his first start of the tournament, was lively, with the Real Betis man firing off a shot 19 minutes into the game that forced Ignatiy Nesterov to dive to his left.

Kitagawa forced Nesterov into further action 10 minutes before the break when his shot on the turn was tipped over by the veteran keeper.

 

With five minutes left in the half, Uzbekistan took the lead with a moment of magic from Shomurodov, the Rostov striker latching on to Dostonbek Khamamov’s through ball to outpace Tomoaki Makino before stepping inside Genta Miura and clipping the finest of finishes into the top corner with the outside of his right boot.

The lead, though, was to last only three minutes as Sei Muroya unlocked the Uzbek defence with a sharp turn on the left touchline before outstripping Farrukh Sayfiev and sending over an inch-perfect cross towards Muto, who rose to power his header home.

Kitagawa should have put Japan in front via an almost identical move, with Ito supplying the cross from the right, but his glancing header was off target.

 Buoyed by their finish to the first 45 minutes, Japan stepped up the tempo in the second period, with Ito particularly threatening down the right side as the half wore on.

Nesterov parried the Kashiwa Reysol man’s shot nine minutes after the restart while Muto went close seconds later, shooting just over the bar. Inui’s attempt from outside the area soon after suffered a similar fate.

Two minutes before the hour mark Shiotani made Japan’s pressure pay with a vicious left-foot strike from distance that rose and curled away from Nesterov as he dived desperately to his left to put Moriyasu’s team in front.

 

Uzbekistan pressed for a way past the Japanese defence, leaving themselves open to the counter-attack and Kitagawa should have doubled his side’s lead with eight minutes left, only to fire over the bar after Muto’s through ball.

Davronbek Khashimov forced Daniel Schmidt to tip his long-range drive over the bar in the final minutes as Japan closed out the game to take their third win in a row and advance to the next round with a perfect record.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Oman 3-1 Turkmenistan

Oman-Goal

Abu Dhabi: Oman gave themselves hope of advancing to the knockout stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019  for the first time after defeating Turkmenistan 3-1 in a Group F match at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Oman’s reward for sealing a spot in the UAE 2019 knockout stage for the first time in four appearances at the Finals is a meeting with either Group C winners Korea Republic or Islamic Republic of Iran, who topped Group D.

With the top two spots in the group not within reach, Japan finishing as group winners with a 2-1 win over Uzbekistan, both sides were playing for third place which a win by two goals would seal.

Turkmenistan had produced a gritty performance in their opener before going 3-2 down to Japan but found Uzbekistan too strong as they fell 4-0. Oman, meanwhile, suffered one goal defeats to both – 2-1 to Uzbekistan and 1-0 to Japan.

Pim Verbeek had stated before the match that a 2-0 win would be enough for his team to advance and Oman started on the front foot as they went in search of the opening goal.

Turkmenistan found Oman’s pace on both flanks hard to handle and one such move in the sixth minute should have seen the West Asians taking the lead but Muhsen Al Ghassani’s left-footed shot from the centre of the box was saved by goalkeeper Mamed Orazmuhamedov.

Oman continued to press and had two chances to take the lead in the 14th minute, with Muhsen Al Ghassani’s effort parried by Orazmuhamedov before Mohammed Al Hosni, with the goalmouth at his mercy, sent his shot high over the bar.

 

Oman’s persistence, however, finally paid off in the 20th minute with captain Ahmed Al Mahaijri scoring a screamer with a free-kick from 25 yards out.

Stung by the goal, Turkmenistan began to push forward more and came close in the 31st minute but Murat Yakshiyev’s header was tipped over by goalkeeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi.

Oman, however, continued to dictate the tempo and Khalid Al Hajri just missed the target with a left-footed shot in the 38th.

It was a miss that would prove to be costly as Turkmenistan, who had been growing as the game progressed, equalised in the 41st minute with Altymyrat Annadurdyyev evading several Oman players before unleashing his shot from the left into the top left corner.

 

Oman started the second half as they had done the first and totally dominated proceedings, coming close in the 55th and 56th minutes – through a header by Mohammed Al Musallami and a shot by Al Hajri respectively.

Al Ghassani went for the spectacular in the 68th minute with an overhead kick which Orazmuhamedov saved and the goalkeeper stood tall again just seconds later to deny Ahmed Al Mahaijri on the left, with the ball seemingly headed for the top of the net.

Orazmuhamedov, however, was finally beaten in the 84th minute with Al Ghassani sweeping the ball in after the goalkeeper had parried an initial effort.

Three minutes into added time, Mohammed Al-Musallami jumped high to head home and Oman’s celebrations began.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

IR Iran 0-0 Iraq

Dubai: Islamic Republic of Iran sealed top spot in Group D of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 after playing to a 0-0 draw with Iraq on Wednesday.

As group winners, Iran will play the third-placed team from either Group B, E or F in Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Sunday, while runners-up Iraq will face the winners of Group E – either Saudi Arabia or Qatar – in Al Nahyan Stadium on Tuesday.

Carlos Queiroz made four changes to Iran’s starting lineup, with Alireza Jahanbakhsh – who had missed the opening two fixtures – being given a chance to play before a packed Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.

Despite having secured qualification to the Round of 16, both sides adopted a high-tempo style of play, with Iran having the first glimpse at goal in the 12th minute when Vahid Amiri sent a cross into the box but Sardar Azmoun’s header was just off the mark.

Iran had the bigger share of the ball but failed to translate their possession into goals, with their attempts hardly troubling Iraqi goalkeeper Jalal Hassan Hachim and his defenders.

Three minutes from the half-time whistle, Jahanbakhsh could have broken the deadlock after latching on to Azmoun’s deflected attempt but couldn’t get his left-footed strike on target.

Iraq started the second half aggressively as they saw more possession and also continued to deny Iran with resilient defending.

Iran, in a bid to break down the Iraq defence, boosted their attacking prowess by bringing on Mehdi Taremi and Mahdi Torabi in the 63rd and 75th minutes respectively.

However, it was Iraq who nearly took the lead in the 77th minute when substitute Mohanad Ali Khadi’s header forced the best out of Iranian custodian Alireza Beiranvand, who tipped the ball over.

As the minutes ticked away, neither team was able to make headway as they settled for a share of the spoils.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Vietnam 2-0 Yemen

Al Ain: Vietnam kept their hopes of progressing to the Round of 16 of the AFC Asian UAE 2019 alive on Wednesday as Park Hang-seo’s side handed Yemen a 2-0 defeat at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium that ensures a nervous 24-hour wait for the Southeast Asian side.

A trademark free-kick from Nguyen Quang Hai and a second half penalty from captain Que Ngoc Hai earned the Vietnamese all three points, but Park’s side fell short of the three-goal win that would have guaranteed them a place in the next phase of the competition.

Vietnam finished third in Group D and the three points they accumulated from the win over Yemen means they have surpassed the two amassed by Palestine in Group B in the quest for one of the four spots awarded to the best third-placed teams.

However, they now sit behind Kyrgyz Republic on goal difference, meaning the Central Asian side have advanced.

The Vietnamese must now await the outcome of the meetings between Lebanon and DPR Korea in Group E and the Group F encounter between Oman and Turkmenistan before knowing if they will extend their stay in the United Arab Emirates.

Both sides knew a win would give them the opportunity to go through to the next phase and a tense opening 30 minutes saw neither side impress. Indeed, it was a flash of ill-discipline that ultimately cost the Yemenis the opening goal.

Mudir Al Radaei involved himself in a needless altercation with Nguyen Cong Phuong to concede a free-kick, picking up a yellow card from referee Ahmed Abu Baker Al Kaf, and from the resultant free-kick the Vietnamese took the lead.

Quang Hai, so often the architect of much of Vietnam’s positivity, was the man to deliver again, the Hanoi FC midfielder stepping up to send his left-foot strike from 25 yards curling away from Salem Al Harsh and into the top corner of the goal.

With Park’s team needing to win by three clear goals to be certain of securing a place in the Round of 16, the onus was on the Vietnamese to continue to press in the final third of the pitch.

 

Ten minutes into the half, a slick move started by Do Hung Dung’s angled ball down the right allowed Nguyen Trong Hoang to pull his cross back to Cong Phuong, only for his shot to be blocked by the Yemeni defence. Seconds later, Hung Dung’s shot was collected by Al Harsh.

Yemen continued to present a threat on the break. Ahmed Al Sarori outpaced Doan Van Hau before firing a right foot shot that flew across the face of goal.

Four minutes after the hour mark, though, Vietnam added the second from the penalty spot. Phan Van Duc burst past Abdulaziz Al Gumaei, surging into the box before the Yemeni defender wrestled him to the ground, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Ngoc Hai calmly slid the spot kick home.

Vietnam continued their quest for that vital third goal but ran out of time and now must wait to see if they advance to the Round of 16.

 

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE