Iraq maintains all-win record as Japan joins them in knockout phase

Iraq maintains all-win record as Japan joins them in knockout phase

QLNews
By QLNews

Aymen Hussein came off the bench to score twice as Iraq defeated Vietnam 3-2 in their last Group D match of the AFC Asian Cup at the Jassin bin Hamad Stadium on Wednesday.

The win meant Iraq topped the group with nine points while Vietnam bid farewell to the tournament after three consecutive defeats. Japan took second place after a 3-1 win over Indonesia. 

Ayase Ueda scored a goal in each half as Japan eased to a win over Indonesia at the Al Thumama Stadium.

Ueda’s sixth-minute penalty put Hajime Moriyasu’s side in early control and the Feyenoord striker doubled his team’s lead seven minutes into the second half to ensure the Samurai Blue bounced back from their 2-1 loss against Iraq.

Indonesia’s Justin Hubner put the ball in his own net three minutes from time before Sandy Walsh struck at the other end a minute into injury time when he slotted a consolation past Zion Suzuki.

With a spot in the knockout stage already booked, Iraq head coach Jesus Casas fielded an entirely changed starting line-up, with the exception of defender Rebin Solaka.

Vietnam thought they had secured the lead in the 17th minute when Iraqi defender Zaid Tahseen’s attempt to clear Vo Minh Trong’s cross inadvertently resulted in the ball going into his own net, but an intervention from VAR saw the scoreline being restored to 0-0.

However, the Golden Star Warriors broke the deadlock in the 40th when an unmarked Bui Hoang Viet Anh sent a perfect volley into the middle of the Iraqi net, from striker Khuat Van Khang’s free-kick.

Vietnam, however, suffered a setback just before the half-time whistle when Khuat Van Khang collected a second caution.

Determined to take advantage of the situation, Iraq began the second half with forwards Ali Jasim and Aymen Hussein replacing Bashar Rasan and Ahmed Abas respectively.

The 2007 AFC Asian Cup champions were rewarded almost instantly as Jasim wasted no time in helping the Lions of Mesopotamia back into the game when his corner kick two minutes into the second half was headed into the Vietnamese goal by Solaka, earning the defender his first international goal.  

Rejuvenated by the equaliser, Iraq continued to apply pressure and got their second in the 72nd when Husein received a beautiful cross from Jasim and made no mistake in heading the ball past Vietnamese goalkeeper Filip Nguyen for his fourth goal of the campaign.

Vietnam restored parity through substitute Ngyuen Quang Hai in the first minute of stoppage time, but a last-minute penalty conceded by Vo Minh Trong saw Hussein score Iraq’s winner. 

The Japanese wasted little time in imposing themselves on the game, and within three minutes, Ritsu Doan’s clever pass into the penalty area had released Ueda, who was wrestled to the ground by Indonesia captain Jordi Amat.

Referee Khamis Al Marri initially allowed play to continue before being called to the pitch-side monitor and he had little hesitation to point to the spot, from where Ueda slammed his right-foot shot emphatically beyond Ernando Ari’s reach.

The early goal allowed the Samurai Blue to control the game, dominating possession and pressing the Indonesians into mistakes deep in their own territory, with Takefusa Kubo dragging his effort wide midway through the half.

The Indonesians had a sight of goal when Marselinho was played into space on the half-hour mark but his attempt was steered out for a corner by Yuta Nakayama as he covered Suzuki’s near post.

Seven minutes into the second half, Ueda was on target again, this time finishing off a flowing team move that started with Takehiro Tomiyasu feeding Doan in midfield.

The Freiburg winger galloped through the middle before receiving a return pass from Nakamura to set up Ueda with the simplest of finishes at the far post with a defence-splitting angled pass across the face of goal.

Hubner redirected Ueda’s 87th minute effort into his own goal off the underside of the crossbar as the Japanese attacked again before Sandy Walsh beat Suzuki low at his near post with a strike from close range.

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