Ja­pan, Uzbek­istan, Qatar make last 16

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

good enough clearly.” Qatar’s 6-0 romp over North Ko­rea was played out in an al­most eery si­lence in front of barely 300 spec­ta­tors in Al Ain. The long-run­ning block­ade of Qatar by Gulf neigh­bours who ac­cuse Doha of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism largely pro­hibits Qataris from en­ter­ing the UAE. “The play­ers know this is the sce­nario and they deal with it,” said Qatar coach Felix Sanchez. “We don’t have our sup­port­ers here but we know that they’re sup­port­ing from Qatar.” Al­moez Ali plun­dered four goals for Qatar to take his tally to five. Verbeek, whose team were beaten 2-1 by Uzbek­istan last week. Ja­pan reached the knock­out stages of last year’s World Cup but they squeaked past Turk­menistan 3-2 in their open­ing Group F game and were poor against Oman, who al­most equalised when Raed Saleh’s ac­ro­batic late vol­ley flashed wide. But the Ja­panese re­main un­beaten in seven matches since Ha­jime Moriyasu took charge after the World Cup and have now lost just one of their last 30 games at the Asian Cup, ex­clud­ing penalty shoot-outs. Ja­pan cap­tain Maya Yoshida warned the Sa­mu­rai Blue they will need to find an ex­tra gear to chal­lenge co-favourites Iran and South Ko­rea for the Asian Cup ti­tle. “We have to be more clin­i­cal,” Yoshida said. “We should have scored two or three more. Our per­for­mances are still not ag­grieved when their own penalty claims were waved away just be­fore half-time after Yuto Na­gatomo looked to have han­dled a Salaah Al-Yahyaei drive. “We were un­lucky with the hand­ball,” shrugged Oman coach Pim ABU DHABI: Ja­pan, Uzbek­istan and Qatar booked their places in the last 16 of the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emi­rates fol­low­ing their wins on Sun­day. In Group F, Ja­pan edged Oman 1-0 and Uzbek­istan ham­mered Turk­menistan 4-0 to re­main per­fect after two games. In Group E, 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar hit North Ko­rea for six for two wins from as many games. Genki Haraguchi smashed home a con­tro­ver­sial penalty for Ja­pan. Ja­pan, who have scooped Asian foot­ball’s big­gest prize on four oc­ca­sions, en­joyed their share of good for­tune against Oman. Haraguchi set­tled Ja­pan’s nerves in the 28th minute, con­vert­ing from the spot after he had ap­peared to go down eas­ily un­der min­i­mal con­tact from Oman cap­tain Ahmed Al-Ma­hai­jri. Oman had ex­tra rea­son to feel

AFP

Qatar’s Al­moez Ali, right, re­acts after scor­ing against North Ko­rea.

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