Asian Cup: Heavyweights Japan and Iran book semifinal spots | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 24.01.2019
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Asian Cup: Heavyweights Japan and Iran book semifinal spots

There were no surprises in the first two quarterfinals of the Asian Cup, as Iran and Japan booked a meeting with each other in the last four. Thursday's play also saw a goodbye for Italian coaching great Marcello Lippi.

China 0 - 3 Iran
(Taremi 18', Azmoun 31', Ansarifard 90+1')

Iran were far too strong for their opponents in a game that proved to be the swansong for China's veteran Italian coach Marcello Lippi.

Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun scored from shocking Chinese defensive errors to end the quarterfinal as a genuine contest before half-time. Karim Ansarifard capped the win in injury-time.

After the game Lippi, who led Italy to the 2006 World Cup and won several Serie A titles with Juventus, confirmed it was his last game with the nation he joined in 2016.

"I want to thank everyone here, because this match ends my contract with the Chinese national team," the 70-year-old  said.  "It has been a very huge honour for me to coach such an important national team for such an important country like China."
Vietnam 0 - 1 Japan
(Doan 57' pen)

Ritsu Doan scores from the spot (picture-alliance/AP Photo/H. Ammar)

Ritsu Doan scores from the spot

Four-time champions Japan needed a second half penalty to end the run of surprise package Vietnam.

Ritsu Doan converted a penalty with a low left-foot shot in the 57th minute to give Japan its fifth win in five games, all by a single goal.

"It is a clean sheet and we go through to the next round, that is the most important." Japan captain Maya Yoshida said. "We need to improve a lot, attacking side and defensive side as well. I feel real confidence with that. But we have to be more clinical, we have to think of more details and we can handle it."

Japan and Iran will meet in the tournament's first semifinal on Monday.
mp (DPA, Reuters)

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