A rousing second-half comeback saw Marcello Lippi’s China through to the last eight of the Asian Cup. They’ll be joined by Vietnam who held their nerve to beat Jordan on penalties while Iran survived an early scare.
China 2–1 Thailand
(Xiao Zhi 67', Gao Lin 71' pen. – Jaided 31')
Two-time runners up China stayed on course for a quarterfinal meeting with Iran, after their pressure finally told against a Thailand side who achieved their best Asian Cup performance since they hosted in 1972.
The Thais took a surprise early lead thanks to an opportunistic strike from Supachai Jaided but were second best for most of the game against opponents who have designs on going deep in this tournament.
China had much of the play but the breakthrough was slow in coming. It finally arrived when substitute Xiao Zhi leveled just minutes after Lippi had sent him on. Zhi reacted quickest to prod in his own rebound after Siwarak Tedsungnoen saved his initial header.
Tedsungen was in top form throughout with saves from Wu Lei and Yu Dabao but was beaten again from the spot by Gao, who had won the decisive penalty from Chalermpong Kerdkaew.
China move to Abu Dhabi for their quarter-final on Thursday and will face Iran.
Iran 2–0 Oman
(Jahanbakhsh 32', A. Dejagah 41' pen.)
Three-times champions Iran survived an early scare before booking their last eight clash with China.
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand saved an Oman penalty in the opening minute but a goal from winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh and a penalty from skipper Ashkan Dejagah put Carlos Queiroz's side in a comfortable position at the break.
Despite plenty of territory and possession they were unable to add to their two goals but they’d already done enough to make it 13 quarterfinals in 14 attempts.
Jordan 1–1 Vietnam (2–4 on penalties)
(Abdulrahman 39' – Baniateyah 51')
Vietnam's impressive young side kept their cool in a Dubai shootout to defeat Jordan 4-2 on penalties and set up a date with the winner of Monday's tie between Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The country's first knockout win at the Asian Cup came despite falling behind to a brilliant Jordanian freekick. After being awarded an indirect set-piece on the right-hand side of the Vietnam box, Yousef Al-Rawashdeh grazed the ball to Baha Abdelrahman, who whipped a wicked effort in to the top corner.
The Vietnamese players felt Al-Rawashdeh hadn't actually touched the ball and, galvanized by the decision, peppered Amer Shafi's goal before the break.
Early in the second half, they finally got their reward and the Jordan goal was finally breached for the first time at the tournament when Nguyen Cong Phuong got between the central defenders to flick a cross into the net.
The sides couldn't be separated in open play, so penalties were required. Jordan's Baha Seif hit the bar and Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam saved Ahmad Saleh's effort in the shootout to leave substitute Bui Tien Dung to convert his spot kick and send Vietnam through.
mp/jh (AFP, Reuters)