Asian Cup: Japan and Qatar through as group winners | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 17.01.2019
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Asian Cup: Japan and Qatar through as group winners

Japan and Qatar booked their place in the knockout stages of the Asian Cup after topping their respective groups. Elsewhere, Lebanon missed out on the last 16 due to their disciplinary record.

Group E

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Qatar

(Ali 45', 80')

Qatar beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 on Thursday to finish top of Group E in an Asian Cup match that garnered more attention for geopolitics than sporting rivalry.

A brace by forward Almoez Ali – taking his tournament tally to seven - was enough to see the Qataris past "the Green Falcons" in front of an almost entirely pro-Saudi 16,067 crowd. 

"Every game is going to be hard," Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez told reporters. "We don't consider ourselves favourites."

Qatar now face 2007 Asian Cup champions Iraq in the knockout stage. Saudi Arabia, finishing second in the group, meet 2011 champions Japan.

Lebanon 4-1 North Korea

(Melki 27', Alhelwe 65', 90', Maatouk 80'; Pak 9')

Despite a 4-1 triumph over North Korea to end Group E, Lebanon fell heart-breakingly short of reaching the knockout stages on disciplinary records

Alhelwe dramatically scored eight minutes into stoppage time but the celebrations were halted with the confirmation matching Vietnam's record of points, goal difference and goals scored was not enough due to collecting more yellow cards throughout the tournament. 

Group F

Japan 2-1 Uzbekistan

(Muto 43', Shiotani 58'; Shomurodov 40')

Tsukasa Shiotani's sizzling winner completed a come-from-behind victory as Japan topped Group F on Thursday.

Shiotani's rocket ensured the Blue Samurai finished with a perfect nine points as they beat Uzbekistan 2-1, despite changing 10 players from their previous game.

"It wasn't a risk (to change 10 players)," said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu. "I wanted to use these players today. We now have some tough games waiting for us so I think it was good that I could use these players and get them match-fit."

Fußball AFC Asian Cup Japan - Usbekistan (picture-alliance/AP Photo/K. Jebreili)

Tsukasa Shiotani scored one of the goals of the tournament to seal top spot in Group F for Japan.

Oman 3-1 Turkmenistan

Oman scrambled into the knockouts courtesy of a 3-1 win over Turkmenistan in a pulsating finish to the tournament's first stage.

The Gulf side took the lead after 20 minutes thanks to an Ahmed Al Mahaijri free-kick, before Altymyrat Annadurdyyev slammed home the equaliser shortly before half-time.

But Muhsen Al Ghassani pounced from close range with six minutes left and Mohammed Al-Musallami added a stoppage-time header to give Oman their first points of the tournament.

jt (AFP, dpa)

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