Asian Cup: Werder Bremen′s Yuya Osako clinches final berth for Japan | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 28.01.2019
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Asian Cup: Werder Bremen's Yuya Osako clinches final berth for Japan

Werder Bremen striker Yuya Osako scored twice in the space of 11 minutes as Japan beat Iran 3-0 to book their place in the Asian Cup final. The four-time champions will face either Qatar or hosts UAE on Friday.

The first semifinal of the Asian Cup delivered on Iran head coach Carlos Quieroz's promise of "a great game" between Japan and the tournament favorites.

The Blue Samurai came into the final four showdown hoping to preserve their perfect record, but struggled initially to assert any measure of dominance over Iran, who hadn't conceded a single goal at the tournament coming into the game.

 Read more: Empty stadiums and poor facilities under the spotlight

After a hard-fought first half ended goalless, Iran's resistance finally crumbled as a quick-fire double either side of the hour mark from Osako (pictured, right) saw Japan put the game beyond reach.

The first goal was scored in comical circumstances. After Takumi Minamino had gone down under a challenge, Iran's backline decided to remonstrate with the referee instead of realizing that no foul had been given. The Red Bull Salzburg striker capitalized on the chance to chase the loose ball unimpeded before floating in a cross that was headed home by Osako in the 57th minute.

The 28-year-old doubled his tally ten minutes later, converting from the spot after the VAR was called upon to award Japan a penalty.

Hannover 96 winger Genki Haraguchi wrapped up the win in added time with the Blue Samurai's third, squashing Iran's hopes of ending their 43-year title drought at the Asian Cup.

jt/mp (Reuters, AFP)

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