Sports Football 21 Jan 2019 Asian Cup: Iran surv ...

Asian Cup: Iran survive scare to reach quarterfinals; China, Vietnam also advance

AFP
Published Jan 21, 2019, 9:02 am IST
Updated Jan 21, 2019, 9:02 am IST
Vietnam were the first to book their place in the last eight after they bundled out Jordan on penalties in Dubai.
China flirted with disaster before launching a second-half fightback to beat Thailand. (Photo: AP)
 China flirted with disaster before launching a second-half fightback to beat Thailand. (Photo: AP)

Abu Dhabi: Title-chasing Iran survived a first-minute penalty in a chaotic start to beat Oman 2-0 and reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

Beanpole goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand saved from the spot before goals from Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Ashkan Dejagah in Abu Dhabi sent Iran through to face China, who beat Thailand 2-1 in an early kickoff.

 

Vietnam were the first to book their place in the last eight after they bundled out Jordan on penalties in Dubai.

Beiranvand saved a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty at last year's World Cup and plunged to his right to brilliantly deny Oman captain Ahmed Al-Mahaijri, preventing Oman taking a shock lead moments into the game.

Iran, who are looking to end a 43-year-old Asian Cup title drought, broke through after 32 minutes when Brighton forward Jahanbakhsh latched onto a hopeful long ball to poke the ball past Oman goalkeeper Faiyz Al-Rusheidi.

 

"Team Melli" captain Dejagah lashed home a penalty four minutes before the break after Mehdi Taremi had been brought down.

Beiranvand produced an acrobatic save to keep out Muhsen Al-Ghassani's long-range strike just before the half-time whistle.

Sardar Azmoun -- dubbed the "Iranian Messi" -- twice fluffed his lines after the interval when it looked easier to score.

Taremi subsequently squandered two gilt-edged chances, but Iran were largely content to see out a one-sided game.

China flirted with disaster before launching a second-half fightback to beat Thailand.

 

The Thais profited from a lethargic start by Marcello Lippi's Chinese side, Supachai Jaided firing them ahead after 31 minutes in Al-Ain.

But China, runners-up in 1984 and 2004, hit back through substitute Xiao Zhi  and Gao Lin's thumping penalty 20 minutes from time to set up a meeting with Iran.

"We started poorly but I'm happy with the reaction of the players," said Lippi, who is expected to step down after the Asian Cup.

"We're in the quarter-finals which is an important step -- now let's see."

Vietnam progressed on a shootout after a nail-biting 1-1 draw with Jordan.

 

BT Dung converted the decisive spot kick for the southeast Asian champions, who will have their work cut out against either Japan or Saudi Arabia in the next round.

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