Japan, UAE, Iran earn victories on Day Three of AFC Asian Cup

Japan, UAE, Iran earn victories on Day Three of AFC Asian Cup

QLNews
By QLNews

Takumi Minamino scored twice as Japan fought back hard to hand Vietnam a 4-2 defeat in their Group D match at the Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates also started their campaign on a winning note, beating Hong Kong 3-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium.

In the day’s third game, Iran overpowered Palestine 4-1 at the Education City Stadium.

Four-time Asian champions Japan, coached by Hajime Moriyasu, were made to work hard for their three points.

Coached by former Japan coach Philippe Troussier, Vietnam rattled the Samurai Blue before slipping to a loss delivered by Keito Nakamura’s curling strike and Ayase Ueda’s late fourth.

Minamino had put Japan in front in the 11th minute, but goals from Nguyen Dinh Bac and Pham Tuan Hai gave Vietnam the lead before Minamino equalised in the 45th and Nakamura bent in his right foot strike five minutes later. Japanese substitute Ueda then scored their fourth with a deflected strike.

After going ahead through Minamino, Vietnam quickly drew level. Taking advantage of a corner, Dinh Bac steered a looping header from Do Hung Dung’s centre high over a helpless Zion Suzuki.

And it was the Vietnamese who struck next. A Bui Hoang Viet Anh header was saved, only for Pham Tuan Hai to gleefully pounce and put Vietnam ahead.

But the lead lasted only 12 minutes as Minamino struck again to equalise, coolly slotting past Nguyen.

Junya Ito forced Nguyen into action deep into injury time. The Japanese reclaimed the lead soon through a brilliant Nakamura strike, with the winger bending a vicious shot into the top corner.

That goal snuffed out Vietnamese resistance. Moriyasu’s players put the seal on the win in the 86th when Ueda’s deflected effort crossed the line.

Although UAE won, there was a silver lining for Hong Kong as Philip Chan Siu Kwan etched his name in AFC Asian Cup history by scoring the tournament’s 1,000th goal.

Hong Kong, though the tournament’s lowest-ranked team, displayed plenty of attacking intent early on with several long-range attempts. However, UAE goalkeeper Khalid Eisa was rarely troubled.

Everton Camargo squandered a decent opportunity just before the 10-minute mark when, despite having teammates on either side, he chose to go for glory himself only to find his attempt blocked.

The game took a significant turn in the 31st when Hong Kong centre-back Oliver Gerbig was adjudged to have handled Sultan Adil’s shot inside the box. Adil converted from the spot to give UAE the lead.

After the break, Chan drew Hong Kong level in the 50th minute, slotting home a stunning cross from Everton.

However, the Dragons’ joy was short-lived as UAE regained the lead in the very next minute.

Despite blocking Abdalla Ramadan’s right-footed attempt from outside the box, Hong Kong veteran goalkeeper Yapp Hung Fai could do little when the rebound was collected by Zayed Sultan, who tucked the ball into the centre of the net. 

Iran hardly gave any breathing space to Palestine throughout the game. They went ahead through Karim Ansarifard when the game was just about a minute old. His right-footed shot, from the left side of the box, settled in the bottom right corner of the net.

Iran increased their lead 11 minutes later through Shoja Khalilzadeh. After a set-piece move, Saman Ghoddos crossed the ball to Shoja, who converted from very close range.

Iran tripled their lead through Mehdi Ghayedi in the 38th before Palestine pulled one back.

Tamer Seyam’e header, from very close range, sent the thousands of Palestinian fans inside the stadium into wild celebrations.

Iran then added a fourth goal to their tally in the 55th, with Sardar Azmoun putting the ball into the centre of the net.

Both teams created several more chances to score, but ultimately failed to capitalise on them.

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