Japan, Uzbekistan, Qatar make last 16
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
Qatar’s Almoez Ali, right, reacts after scoring against North Korea.