AFC Asian Cup: Japan survives Vietnam scare, Iran eases past Palestine
DOHA — Takumi Minamino scored a brace as top seed Japan came back from behind to beat Vietnam 4-2 in the first round of Group D at the AFC Asian Cup here.
Minamino had put Japan in front in the 11th minute, but Vietnam stunned the four-time champions with two goals from Nguyen Dinh Bac and Pham Tuan Hai in the 16th and 33rd minute respectively, reports Xinhua.
Japan fought back to equalize by Minamino in the 45th minute, before Keito Nakamura curled the ball home from distance five minutes later.
The Japanese team controlled the second half and sealed the 4-2 victory thanks to a late goal in the 86th minute from substitute Ayase Ueda.
Minamino spoke highly of this young and resistant Vietnamese team: “I’ve been playing against Vietnam since I was young, so I know how good a team they can be. I am surprised by how good they are.”
Another Asian football powerhouse Iran began its AFC Asian Cup campaign with a convincing 4-1 victory over Palestine in Group C.
Iran now leads the group by goal difference after the UAE scored two penalties to edge the lowest ranked Hong Kong, China 3-1.
Chan Siu Kwan Philip scored in the first Asian Cup match for Hong Kong, China in more than 55 years, which also marked the 1,000th goal in this continental tournament.