The third day saw the most numbers of goals scored in the tournament so far. 

Normal service resumed in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on Monday, after shocking results grabbed the headlines in the previous day. In the opener, China came from behind to down Kyrgyz Republic 2-1 at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al-Ain. In a game of two halves, Marcelo Lippi’s men were stunned by the tenacity of the Kyrgyz Republic in the first half.

They created close to four shots on target and were rewarded for their persistence, when Akhlidin Israilov’s shot powered into the net. However, China returned a changed side in the second half and capitalized on the Krygz Republic’s errors. Goalkeeper Pavel Matiash had a day to forget, as he pushed a relatively simple catch into his own net to equalize things in the 50th minute. Later, a lapse in concentration from Kyrgyz Republic’s rigid defence allowed substitute Yu Dabao to round Matiash and slot the ball into the net.

Watch: China PR 2-1 Kyrgyz Republic

The White Falcons caused their own demise with shoddy defending, allowing Lippi’s men to snatch a victory. The question would remain for them, should Matiash and the defence have been more focused? Absolutely. His own lapses in concentration and sloppy defending from the Kyrgyz Republic allowed China to get back into the game.

For China, the question remains should they be more clinical in attack? Yes. They were lucky to capitalize on the opposition’s errors and need to be lethal going forward and strong defensively to go deep into the tournament.

Debutants Philippines gave a brave showing of themselves in their debut AFC Asian Cup tie against South Korea at the Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai. However, they were overpowered in the end as Korea pipped them 1-0, thanks to Hwang Ui-jo’s winner. The game was almost all about Paulo Bento’s side. They dominated much of the proceedings and were unlucky not to score a few more.

Watch: Korea Republic 1-0 Philippines highlights

They attempted 16 shots, five of which were on target. Philippines keeper Michael Falkesgaard produced a brilliant performance, saving his side time and again. Should the Philippines be braver going forward, considering they have nothing to lose? Probably. However, they need to be wary of China and Kyrgyz Republic’s attacking threat and improve upon finishing their counter-attacks to get results.

For South Korea, they’d wonder whether they need Son Heung-min’s trickery to break defences more easily? Probably. Son’s a big influence on the team and knowing his incredible ability in the final third, he can create and score many for the Taegeuk Warriors. Should Korea’s other attackers raise their game? Maybe. However, for their first game, the unit showed decent chemistry and Ui-jo’s work with Hwang Hee-chan was particularly admirable.


In the final game, Iran routed a sorry Yemen 5-0 in the Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Carlos Queiroz’s men gave a masterclass in the attack, enacting complete dominance over a physical Yemen side who were restricted to helpless fouls later on. A brace from Mehdi Taremi in the first half along with an own-goal from goalkeeper Sauod Al Sowadi in the first half gave Iran an unassailable 3-0 lead. They added two later on with Sardar Azmoun and Saman Ghoddos getting into the scoresheet.

Watch: Iran 5-0 Yemen highlights

Yemen will probably wonder whether they could’ve avoided the reckless game. Maybe However, they were technically outclassed and frustrations piled up to make the players lunge into unnecessary tackles. They’ll look to improve their defending and movement going forward, as giving up is barely an option so early.

For Iran, the question will be could they get better from this point on? Quite possibly. Their top attackers Alireza Jahanbaksh and Karim Ansarifard were both on the bench, but the unit still put Yemen to the sword. Carlos Queiroz has setup Iran completely opposite to what we saw at the World Cup. If this proves anything, it’s that every opposition should beware of Iran’s attacking prowess rather than their strong defence.