After a rush of work hit the gibfootballshow shores mixed in with the incompentency of Eurosport in ever scheduling something for when it’s actually on, it has been nigh on impossible to keep up with the Asian Cup to the extent that the website wanted to.
The competition has reached the Quarter Final stage and it’s time to make the return to the crazy world of Asian football. Group A maybe had a slight upset as China were eliminated but however Uzbekistan have been superb and Qatar bucked up their ideas to see both teams advance.
Saudi Arabia have had a nightmate tournament, sacking the manager after your first defeat is never a good sign. Japan won the group and Jordan have capatilised on the Saudi’s misfortune. As was well touted Australia and Korea Republic finished 1st and 2nd with a very identical record.
Rivals Iran and Iraq have blown away the competition and qualified for the last eight, Iran remain unbeaten and have only conceded one goal. Another disappointing tournament for Korea DPR and we hope they’re return to Kim Jong-il goes better than in the summer.
Friday sees the first two matches of this year’s Quarter Finals – Japan take on Qatar and Uzbekistan v Jordan. Let’s have a quick look at how all four teams have made it to the last eight. And tomorrow we will look at how Australia, Iraq, Iran and Korea Republic joined them.
JAPAN V QATAR
After the 1-1 draw with Jordan the Japanese improved slightly Makoto Hasebe opened the scoring driving the ball home from the edge of the box. Kawashima then brought down substitute Sanharib Malki Sabah in the box, the keeper saw red and Al Khatib put away the penalty. With eight minutes to go Shinji Okazaki was brought down by two Syrian defenders. Keuisuke Honda’s calm finish was enough for the three points.
And it was Shinji Okazaki who blew away Saudi Arabia in the last group game, two quick goals in the opening thirteen minutes, the games was then over when finished off Yuto Nagatomo cross. Maeda and Okazaki added another goal each to wrap up the 5-0 victory, a dire performance from the Saudis, sums up their tournament really.
Buoyed on by the 2-0 win over China, Qatar knew three points against Kuwait would secure their progression. They started really well and took the lead when Sebastien Soria crossed in and Bilal Mohammed applied to finishing touch. Mohammed Al Sayed added the second after five minutes. Kuwait couldn’t get back into the game and in the 85th minute it was three, Soria was fouled outside the box and Fabio Cesar curled the free kick into the net.
Both teams will meet in the early kick off on Friday, Japan will be the pre-game favourites but you can’t rule out the hosts Qatar, with the home crowd behind them, the Blue Samurai will need to step up their game if they want to make the Semi Finals.
UZBEKISTAN v JORDAN
Going behind after six minutes Uzbekistan did well to come back. Ahmedov and Geynrikh scored either side of half time but Schalke’s Hao Junmin levelled the game with a excellent free kick and the game finished all square. The Uzbek’s have impressed in winning the group and will fancy their chances.
Jordan did well to beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 Baha’s Abdulrahman with the only goal of the game before half time. Reservations of how good a win that was against a poor Saudi Arabia team were quashed when they followed it up with a 2-1 win over Syria in the last group game. The Jordanians battled back from a goal down, keeper Shafi could only parry Malki’s shot straight into the path of Al Zino. Syria needed three points to progress so they were right up for this one. An Ali Diab own goal levelled the scores. The same defender then failed to clear Shafi’s goal kick and Al Saify nipped in to score the winner.
It’s hard to look past Uzbekistan they have been very strong so far, but the spirit shown by Jordan to come back and beat Syria means they can’t be counted out. It’s all to play for in Friday’s Quarter Finals.
Tomorrow we will look at the other two match-ups.