AFC Asian Cup: Iraq Upsets Japan, Indonesia Revives Hope - Eastern Mirror
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AFC Asian Cup: Iraq upsets Japan, Indonesia revives hope

By IANS Updated: Jan 20, 2024 6:21 pm
AFC Asian Cup
Photo: IANS

DOHA —  Iraq beat the tournament favorite Japan 2-1 on Friday to book their place in the last 16 at the AFC Asian Cup.

In front of the thunderous cheering crowds at the Education City Stadium, Aymen Hussein’s two first-half goals stunned the four-time champions and propelled Iraq to top Group D after two rounds with six points, reported Xinhua.

Asnawi Mangkualam’s first half penalty helped Indonesia edge Vietnam 1-0 late on Friday.

Indonesia, level on three points with Japan ahead of their meeting on Wednesday, keeps hope alive to qualify for the knockout stage.

Backed by a majority of 38,663 fans at the Education City stadium, Iraq, the 2007 champion of the continental football tournament, started the match stronger with intensity and pace. Japan was pressed back and took time to find their rhythm.

Five minutes into the game, Ali Jasim’s cross was parried by Japanese goalkeeper Zion Suzuki into the path of Hussein, who headed the ball into the top corner.

Hussein, the 27-year-old striker who plays in the Iraqi Premier League, netted with another header in the final minutes of the first half.

After the restart, Japan, with a dominant possession and higher passing accuracy, failed to kick in a goal until the stoppage time when captain Wataru Endo scored with a close-range header.

In Group C, Iran entered the round of 16 with one match to spare after the 1-0 victory over Hong Kong, China on Friday night.

A total of 24 teams are competing in six groups at the Asian Cup, which runs from January 12 to February 10. Group winners and runners-up will advance to the knockout stage, along with the four best third-placed teams.

Also read: Dreams shattered, but the hope lives on after India faces reality check in AFC Asian Cup

By IANS Updated: Jan 20, 2024 6:21:08 pm
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