Australia 0-0 Uzbekistan (After Extra Time, Australia win 4-2 on penalties)

Al Ain: Maty Ryan was the hero for Australia as the defending champions edged through to the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 on Monday evening with a 4-2 win over Uzbekistan in a penalty shootout.

Ryan kept out spot-kicks from Islom Tukhtakhujaev and Dostonbek Khamdamov to leave Mathew Leckie to score the winning penalty that took Graham Arnold’s side into the next round of the competition.

Neither side had been able to find the back of the net during the previous 120 minutes, leaving Ryan to provide the heroics for his team, who now face the United Arab Emirates – who defeated Kyrgyz Republic 3-2 in their last 16 tie – in the next round.

The win was no less than the Australians deserved in game that saw Arnold recall Trent Sainsbury following his suspension while Hector Cuper’s Uzbekistan team featured five changes from the team that lost 2-0 to Japan, with veteran midfielder Odil Ahmedov among those recalled.

The match started with Eldor Shomurodov’s change of pace leaving Sainsbury flat-footed in the penalty area, only for Ryan to deny the Russia-based striker’s effort when in on the Australian goal.

Two minutes later Aziz Behich tried his luck from outside the area but his low shot caused Ignatiy Nesterov few problems as the Uzbekistan defence successfully kept the Socceroos at arm’s length.

Uzbekistan were shading the battle for control as they successfully stifled Australia’s threat in the final third and threatened on the break. Two minutes before the half hour mark they went close again as Javokhir Sidikov let fly from distance, the ball going narrowly wide of Ryan’s right post.

Uzbekistan’s preferred outlet was through Shomurodov and the 23-year-old carried a constant threat. Nine minutes before the break he cut through the Australian defence again before pulling the ball back and finding Khamdamov with time and space to shoot, but his attempt was woefully off target.


As the second half wore on, though, Australia asserted more control. Jamie Maclaren’s blocked shot looped up for Rhyan Grant to head into the hands of Nesterov while the Sydney FC full-back was also on the end of Milos Degenek’s clever diagonal ball, sending his header over the bar from an acute angle.

Leckie’s introduction for Awer Mabil midway through the half gave Australia a boost and the Hertha Berlin winger almost put his side in front when he skipped through the Uzbekistan defence. Nesterov, though, dropped to his right to parry before the ball was hacked clear.


Nesterov was again on hand to push away Rogic’s deflected effort 10 minutes from time as Uzbekistan rarely ventured beyond their own half, with only Odil Ahmedov’s mis-hit volley to show for their efforts in the dying moments of normal time.

With the 90 minutes finishing goalless, the game went into extra-time and Australia’s frustration continued as Chris Ikonomidis, Leckie and Rogic all failed to break the deadlock for the defending champions, leaving the game to drift towards a shootout.

Nesterov saved Behich penalty in the second round of the shootout before Tukhtakhujaev was denied by Ryan and, with Khamdamov missing in the penultimate round, Leckie struck to take Australia through.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Palestine 0-0 Jordan


Abu Dhabi:  Already qualified Jordan rounded off their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 group stage campaign with a 0-0 draw against Palestine on Tuesday, a result which helped maintain their unbeaten record and left their opponents waiting to see if they will claim one of the four best third-placed positions.

The stalemate made it eight points from nine for Jordan – quarter-finalists in 2004 and 2011 – as they finished top of the Group B standings to set up a Round of 16 meeting with the third-placed team from either Group E, C or D in Dubai.

With Australia dramatically beating Syria in the group’s other game, a gallant Palestine duly finished third on two points, some four points behind runners-up Australia but crucially one ahead of fourth-placed Syria.

Minus the suspended Mousa Suleiman Al Tamari, Jordan started brightly at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Mahmoud Wadi deflecting Baha’ Abdel Rahman’s free-kick narrowly wide of his own post and Ahmad Ersan forcing goalkeeper Rami Hamada into action inside the first five minutes.

Despite Jordan’s early dominance, Palestine came close to breaking the deadlock themselves in the 17th minute when custodian Amer Shafi produced a fine fingertip save to keep out Abdallatif Al Bahdari’s flicked attempt from a Tamer Seyam corner.

Abdel Rahman then flashed a shot inches over the bar from distance, before, in the final moments of the first half, Jordanian captain Shafi acrobatically punched clear with striker Mahmoud Wadi lurking.

Within six minutes of the restart, Palestine threatened again, this time Oday Dabbagh failing to find the target with a header from Musab Battat’s pinpoint delivery.

Moments later, Abdallatif Al Bahdari’s towering header from another Seyam set-piece was gathered on his line by Shafi, and Ersan’s 68th minute piledriver at the other end brought another super stop from Hamada.

It proved to be the last genuine goalmouth action on a day when Jordan were left to look forward to the next round and Palestine made to wait to discover their destiny.

Moments later, Abdallatif Al Bahdari’s towering header from another Seyam set-piece was gathered on his line by Shafi, and Ersan’s 68th minute piledriver at the other end brought another super stop from Hamada.

It proved to be the last genuine goalmouth action on a day when Jordan were left to look forward to the next round and Palestine made to wait to discover their destiny.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Syria 0-0 Palestine

Sharjah: Palestine produced a steely performance to hold Syria 0-0 in their opening AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group B match at the Sharjah Stadium on Sunday.

It was the first point for Palestine in the Finals, having lost all group stage matches in their previous appearance in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Syria were the more dangerous as they dominated possession in the opening minutes of the game in front of a capacity crowd.

Omar Al Soma’s clever run down the left caught Palestine off guard and his cross found Omar Khrbin in the area but the 2017 AFC Player of the Year fired his effort wide.

Syria almost took the lead after seven minutes, when Palestine custodian Rami Hamada lost the ball in the area only for Khrbin to see his close-range effort cleared off the line.

Despite holding the lion’s share of possession, Syria found it hard to break down their opponents as Palestine kept their composure at the back.

Syria however continued to pile the pressure on Palestine as Hamada was called into action in the 29th minute when he produced an acrobatic save to deny Khrbin’s header.

Syria then suffered a blow in the 39th minute when Osama Omari was stretchered off the pitch after picking up an injury and replaced by Yousef Khalfa.

With a minute left in the half, Syria were given another opportunity but Al Soma couldn’t convert his free-kick as the score remained 0-0 at half-time.

Bernd Stange’s Syria continued to dominate play in the second half as they applied a more attacking approach in the hope of breaking the deadlock.

Palestine continued to frustrate their opponents as Syria continued their waves of attacks.

Noureddine Ould Ali’s side, however, suffered a setback when they went down to 10 men after Mohammed Saleh picked up his second yellow card in the 68th minute.

That, however, only increased Palestine’s resolve and with Syria failing to capitalise on their one-man advantage, both teams settled for a share of the points.

Up next for Syria are Jordan, who stunned Australia 1-0 earlier on Sunday, on Thursday while Palestine will face the defending champions a day later.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website

#2019REWIND #AFCAsianCup2019 Round of 2


Abu Dhabi: After 50 matches between teams from all over the continent, the combatants in Asia’s biggest football fixture have been decided, with Japan to meet Qatar in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final.

Who, when, where?


Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi – 18:00, February 1

Japan’s 3-0 win against Islamic Republic of Iran in Al Ain on Monday and Qatar’s victory over hosts United Arab Emirates 24 hours later in Abu Dhabi, sets up a mouth-watering clash between the sides, who will meet in the decider for the first time in the competition’s 63-year history.

History will be made whatever the result on Friday.

With Japan having won in all four of their previous appearances in the decider, the match will see a team which has never lost in the AFC Asian Cup final against opponents making their first appearance.

Part of the victorious Japan squad of 1992, Samurai Blue boss Hajime Moriyasu is poised to become the first man to win the AFC Asian Cup as a player and head coach and should the East Asians clinch the title, it will be for a record-extending fifth time.

Conversely, if Felix Sanchez’s Qatar are successful, the 43-year-old will become the first Spaniard to ever lead a side to the top of the Asian football mountain.

Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium will stage the showpiece for the second time, with the venue having also hosted Saudi Arabia’s win in the 1996 final, when it was known as Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Source : Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

#2019REWIND #AFCAsianCup2019 Round of 4


Abu Dhabi: The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final four line-up has been confirmed, with host nation United Arab Emirates joined by former winners Japan and Islamic Republic of Iran and first-time semi-finalists Qatar.

With the remaining teams all having proven their quality, the scene is now set for two mouth-watering semi-finals, with the winners to progress to the AFC Asian Cup Final at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium on February 1.

Who, when, where?


Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain – 18:00, January 28

With seven AFC Asian Cup titles between them, the first semi-final brings together two of the competition’s most successful ever sides.

Four-time champions Japan have been the competition’s dominant team in the modern era, lifting the trophy in 2000, 2004 and 2011 after breaking through for the maiden crown in 1992, while three-time winners Iran haven’t held the crown since 1976.

Quarter Finals: Vietnam vs Japan

With both sides yet to taste defeat so far in the UAE, something has to give in Al Ain, and football fans are already anticipating what looms as an instant classic between Carlos Queiroz’s Team Melli and Hajime Moriyasu’s Samurai Blue.

Despite their proud records in the AFC Asian Cup, the two sides have only met twice in the competition. They played out a scoreless draw in Doha in 1988, while a goal from a youthful Kazuyoshi Miura sealed a 1-0 win for Japan in Hiroshima four years later.

Quarter-final: China PR vs IR Iran


Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi – 18:00, January 29

Five straight wins, including three in a row against former champions, have rocketed Qatar to the final four for the first time in history, while Alberto Zaccheroni’s United Arab Emirates side continues to gather steam when it counts most.

Having beaten Korea Republic and Australia in their respective semi-finals, Qatar and United Arab Emirates are now potentially 180 minutes away from becoming Asian champions, a title neither has ever held.

Quarter-final: Korea Republic vs Qatar

Felix Sanchez’s Qatar side boast seven-goal tournament scoring leader Almoez Ali, while the Emiratis feature Ali Mabkhout, who won Golden Boot at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia, and has aleady found the back of the net four times in this tournament.

The nations have previously met four times in the Continental Finals, winning twice each, with a Mabkhout-inspired United Arab Emirates prevailing 4-1 in their last meeting in this competition in Canberra four years ago.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

#2019REWIND #AFCAsianCup2019 Round of 8


Abu Dhabi: After an unforgettable Round of 16 stage, the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 quarter-final cast has been confirmed.

From a starting field of 24 teams, only an exclusive eight remain, with four mouth-watering matches – each containing a former champion – set to be played on Thursday and Friday

Who, when, where?


Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai – 17:00, January 24

The Vietnamese fairy-tale continued in the Round of 16, as Park Hang-seo’s side came from a goal behind to overcome Jordan in a penalty shootout, claiming the nation’s first ever AFC Asian Cup knockout stage win.

Their next challenge comes in the form of the competition’s most successful ever team; four-time champions Japan, who made it four wins from four with a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.


Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi – 20:00, January 24

Still unbeaten, and still yet to concede a goal, Islamic Republic of Iran are building nicely as they look to win their first AFC Asian Cup title since 1976 – with their comprehensive 2-0 Round of 16 win over Oman underlining their smooth progress.

China PR appear in the last eight for the second consecutive edition of the tournament, having come from behind to secure a 2-1 win over Thailand in the first knockout round.


Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi – 17:00, January 25

Korea Republic’s quest to end their 59-year title drought faces what is arguably their most challenging obstacle yet, with Qatar having won all four of their matches without having conceded a single goal.

The match will feature the coming together of one of Asia’s most celebrated stars, Korea’ Republic’s Tottenham Hotspur ace Son Heung-min, and one of its brightest emerging talents in seven-goal Qatari striker Almoez Ali.


Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain – 20:00, January 25

Both United Arab Emirates and Australia emerged from epic Round of 16 tussles to ultimately prevail against Central Asian opposition, and book the first meeting between the AFC Asian Cup hosts and reigning champions since Vietnam met Japan in the 2007 edition.

The sides also met in the 2015 semi-final, and Alberto Zaccheroni’s men will eager to square the ledger after the Socceroos won 2-0 on the way to claiming the Continental crown.

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

#2019REWIND #AFCAsianCup2019 Round of 16

AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 - Knockout Stage fixtures slider

Abu Dhabi: After 36 matches, and no shortage of drama, the qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 knockout stage have been finalised.

The line-up was confirmed on Thursday, when Oman and Vietnam claimed the Round of 16’s two remaining places, setting the scene for what promises to be an unforgettable climax to the largest ever edition of the competition.

Who, when, where?


Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai.15:00, January 20

Unbeaten Group B winners Jordan face a Vietnam side appearing in the knockout stage for the first time since 2007, and just the second time in their history, with the winners to meet either Japan or Saudi Arabia in the quarter-finals.


Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain. 18:00, January 20

Appearing in their first AFC Asian Cup knockout fixture since 1972, Thailand will meet FIFA World Cup-winner Marcello Lippi’s China PR, who qualified as the second placed team in Group C.


Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. 21:00, January 20

Three-time Asian champions and Group D winners Islamic Republic of Iran will look to continue their unbeaten start to UAE 2019 against an emerging Oman side revitalised by a memorable 3-1 win over Turkmenistan.


Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah. 15:00, January 21

A blockbuster clash between two of the competition’s most successful nations in Sharjah. Four-time champions and Group F winners Japan will meet Saudi Arabia, who have lifted the trophy on three occasions and finished second in Group E.


Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain. 18:00, January 21

In a re-match of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup semi-final, reigning champions Australia will meet Hector Cuper’s emerging Uzbekistan, after both sides qualified by finishing second in their respective groups.


Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi. 21:00, January 21

In front of a typically passionate Zayed Sports City Stadium crowd, host nation United Arab Emirates will face Kyrgyz Republic, who have made history by reaching the knockout stage in their first appearance at the Finals.


Rashid Stadium, Dubai. 17:00, January 22

A Son Heung-min-inspired Korea Republic will look to continue their perfect start to the AFC Asian Cup against a Bahrain outfit buoyed by the dramatic last-minute winner against India which sealed their path to the last 16.


Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi. 20:00, January 22

Qatar, and current tournament leading scorer Almoez Ali, meet 2007 champions Iraq in a mouth-watering final Round of 16 tie, with the winners to face either Korea Republic or Bahrain in the last eight.


Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE