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AFC Asian Cup Day 14 Recap: Vietnam edge past Jordan, Iran survive Oman test

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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In the other fixture, China mounted a second half revival to beat Thailand.

The AFC Asian Cup Round of 16 stage kicked-off on Sunday. In the first game, Vietnam penned one of the stories of the tournament, as they defeated Jordan 1-1 (4-2) on penalties at the Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai. The Golden Dragons came back after going behind through Bahaa Abdulrahman’s thunderbolt, as Nguyen Cong Phuong’s strike equalized things.

Watch: Jordan Vs Vietnam, Goals and Highlights

After the game wasn’t decided in regulation time, it moved over to extra-time. The sides couldn’t settle it in the next thirty minutes, moving onto the penalty shootout. Underdogs under the pressure, the Vietnamese players showed incredible grit to convert most of their penalties and attain qualification for the quarterfinals for the very first time. While Jordan seemed big favourites on the day due to their domination in the group stages, the skill and concentration of the youngest squad in the Asian Cup toppled their physical attributes.

The Golden Dragons played some scintillating football throughout, showing amazing maturity in dealing with Jordan’s attacking threat and frustrating them. However, things get serious now that they’ll face a much bigger threat in either Japan or Saudi Arabia in the quarterfinals next week. Jordan came close to attaining a last eight place themselves, but over-confidence undid all their good work.

Watch: Thailand Vs China, Goals and Highlights

China displayed impressive determination in coming back from behind to down Thailand 1-2 at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain. After the War Elephants had gone ahead through Supachai Chaided’s first half goal, Marcelo Lippi’s men rallied back through quick-fire goals form Xiao Zhi and Gao Lin to qualify for the quarterfinals. Thailand showed fearlessness in playing positively and went toe-to-toe with China in aiming to score more goals.

However, it was Team Dragon that created the most noticeable chances in the game. They were denied by the brilliance of Sivarak Tedsungnoen multiple times and Yu Dabao’s miss from yards away in around the hour mark made it seem like it wasn’t going to be their day. However, Lippi’s clever substitutions worked wonders, as Zhi scored powerfully to break Thailand’s resolve and Lin later put in his penalty with ease.




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Thailand can definitely be proud of this performance, as they showed impressive resilience and made Team Dragon work hard to earn their victory. China now face the much bigger threat of Iran in the quarterfinals. Lippi will need to pull off something special to defeat the tournament favourites.

Speaking of Iran, their comfortable journey continued with a 2-0 win over Oman at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. However, the game started in a disastrous manner when Majid Hosseini cynically brought down Muhsen Al Ghassani inside the box in the 1st minute. Oman had the opportunity to get a shock lead, but Alireza Beiranvand produced an excellent save off captain Ahmed Al Mahaijri to keep things level. From then, Iran took control of the game and never let go.

Watch: Iran Vs Oman, Goals and Highlights

They broke the deadlock after a defensive mistake from Al-Ahmar, allowing Alireza Jahanbaksh to score his first of the tournament. Some questionable officiating allowed Team Melli to get a penalty later in the half, which captain Ashkan Dejagah scored dutifully. While Carlos Queiroz's men had a few more chances to score, lacklustre finishing and some superb stops from goalkeeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi denied them.

Although, Oman will rue missing that early penalty which could’ve changed the complexion of the game, it seemed that disappointment shot their confidence. Iran’s own confidence was tripled and influenced by captain Dejagah, they took the game by its throat and didn’t let go.  

Sardar Azmoun might’ve been disappointed to not score a goal, but the hunger in Iran’s camp makes them a huge threat.

Published: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:59 PM IST

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