Japan’s Takehiro Tomiyasu Sends Saudis Spinning Out Of Asian Cup


Takehiro Tomiyasu scored the only goal of the match. © AFP

Takehiro Tomiyasu’s lone strike sent Saudi Arabia crashing out of the Asian Cup as Japan beat the three-time champions 1-0 to reach the quarter-finals on Monday. Tomiyasu’s first-half header was enough to seal it for Japan as the last-16 game between two teams with seven titles between them failed to live up to its billing. Japan, record four-time winners of the Asian Cup, march on to a quarter-final with Southeast Asian champions Vietnam despite not yet hitting top form at the tournament.

Saudi Arabia were in the ascendancy early on but it was Japan who snatched the advantage with a straightforward goal from a set piece on 20 minutes.

From a corner, Belgium-based defender Tomiyasu climbed above his marker and nodded firmly into the bottom corner for his first of the tournament.

The Saudis twice came close with headers as they strived for a way back, and Hatan Bahbri curled one just off-target as he went for the top corner.

Yoshinori Muto’s shot was blocked on the hour-mark but most of the chances were falling to Saudi Arabia, who will rue some wasteful finishing.

Bahbri’s shot from outside the box crept narrowly wide and Ali Al-Bulaihi powered a strong header over when the ball was knocked back into the area after a free-kick.

But despite a late flurry, it remained another goalless outing for the Saudis, who haven’t hit the net since scoring six goals in their first two group games.

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China Roar Back From Behind Against Thailand To Reach Asian Cup Quarters

China flirted with disaster before mounting a second-half revival as they fought back from behind to beat Thailand 2-1 and reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals on Sunday. The giant nation were all at sea as they fell behind to Supachai Jaided’s opener but they hit back after the break through substitute Xiao Zhi and Gao Lin’s well-taken penalty. It meant China live to fight another day under Marcello Lippi, who is expected to step down after the Asian Cup, while Thailand exit with their heads held high.

In an open start, Theerathon Bunmathan saw a free kick tipped over and Wu Lei had an attempt smothered by Thai goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen before Thailand went ahead on 31 minutes.

From a corner, in front of Thailand’s drumming and singing fans, Thitiphan Puangjan’s miscued shot fell to Supachai Jaided, who turned and rammed it past Chinese goalie Yan Junling from close range.

The chances were falling thick and fast for Thailand and the “Thai Messi” Chanathip Songkrasin was adjudged to have fouled Feng Xiaoting as he jinked his way into a scoring opportunity.

China looked distinctly rattled, but they nearly hit back just before half-time when Yu Dabao flashed his header wide from Hao Junmin’s free kick.

China’s star man Wu Lei, who missed their final group game with a shoulder injury, missed a series of chances after half-time, including one when he embarrassingly sliced an easy shot well wide.

But China were piercing the Thai defence again and again and on the hour mark, only Siwarak’s legs preserved Thailand’s lead when he parried Yu’s goal-bound shot from point-blank range.

China finally scored midway through the second half when substitute forward Xiao, three minutes after coming on, headed straight at Siwarak before prodding home the rebound.

The onslaught didn’t stop and after Gao was brought down by Chalermpong Kerdkaew, he nervelessly swept the spot-kick high into the net for a 2-1 lead.

Thailand weren’t going down without a fight and in injury time, Teerasil Dangda wasted a good chance and Pansa Hemviboon had Yan at full stretch with a powerful shot.

But ultimately it was China who joined Vietnam in the last eight, after the Southeast Asian champions stunned Jordan on penalties after a tense 1-1 draw in Dubai.

It ends a rollercoaster tournament for Thailand, who sacked their coach Milovan Rajevac after their 4-1 drubbing by India but recovered to reach the last 16.

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Nintendo Switch Launch In China and Other Asian Markets Unlikely to Happen Soon

If you were expecting a Nintendo Switch launch in Asian markets like China, think again. While Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa is interested in growing the company’s presence in Asia, he doesn’t believe   it would necessary mean the Nintendo Switch would be a part of those plan. Rather, he thinks that smartphone games may be the way forward in such markets. The topic of Nintendo’s expansion into overseas markets came up in an interview with Japanese daily newspaper Kyoto Shimbun. Furukawa elaborated on how Nintendo would plan to tackle markets where it doesn’t have much of a presence in, staring that a dedicated gaming console may not be the best path forward.

“We’re anticipating Asia to grow in the near future,” he said in the interview (via Nintendo Everything). “In that regard, there are still many things we can do. So, we want to challenge ourselves in the Chinese market. Games on smartphones are now commonplace, so we’re not necessarily fixated on the necessity of dedicated game consoles gaining ground – we want to expand [into that market] by the best means possible.”

It will be interesting to see if India is on Nintendo’s radar as it does not have an official presence here. The company had sent its employees to evaluate Indian studios last year while Hyderabad-based Ogre Head is said to be working on a Nintendo Switch port of its Hindu Mythology roguelike, Asura.

In addition to this, he admits that Nintendo Labo sales haven’t been as good as the company had anticipated though it has plans to “convey its allure”.

“It hasn’t sold as well as our other hit games have, but we did have an increase in sales for Labo during the end of the year,” he admitted. “There are many new ways to experience Labo, and we’re working on formulating new methods that convey its allure so Labo’s sales will have longer legs.”

In a prior interview, Furukawa confirmed that Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Switch sold over five million units in its first week globally.

Furthermore, he stated that the Nintendo Switch is the home console that is seeing the fastest software sales in the company’s history so far. Also, he mentioned that game sales on the Nintendo Switch picked up mid-November. No surprise when you consider that Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee were released at the time and were followed up by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

If you’re a fan of video games, check out Transition, Gadgets 360’s gaming podcast. You can listen to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS, or just listen to this week’s episode by hitting the play button below.

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Asian Cup 2019: Son Heung-Min Helps South Korea Beat China 2-0

An effervescent Son Heung-min inspired title-chasing South Korea to a comfortable 2-0 victory over China on Wednesday to finish top of their Asian Cup group. Hwang Ui-jo and Kim Min-jae were on target as the Koreans, boosted by the arrival of their talisman, ran China ragged in Abu Dhabi. Talisman Son won the penalty converted by Hwang and fizzed in the assist for Kim to spark South Korea, who finished top of Group C with a perfect nine points as they look to end 59 years of Asian Cup hurt.

Marcello Lippi’s Chinese side finished as group runners-up having likewise already sealed their place in the last 16 by winning their first two matches.

Korean captain Son surprisingly started – and completed 87 minutes – despite a punishing run of 13 games for Tottenham since the start of December.

The mercurial Spurs forward, who played in the London club’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United three days ago, showed quick feet to tempt China defender Shi Ke into a rash challenge 12 minutes.

Hwang calmly tucked away the spot-kick to send thousands of Korean “Red Devils” fans wild at the compact Al Nahyan Stadium.

South Korea, who beat Asian Cup first-timers Philippines and Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in their opening two games, went for the jugular.

A Hwang Hee-chan rocket forced China goalkeeper Yan Junling into a fingertip save before Hwang Ui-jo curled an effort against the post.

The Koreans, joint title favourites with Iran, doubled their lead six minutes after the break when Son’s corner was met by Kim’s thumping header.

South Korea, who famously reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2002, have failed to win the Asian Cup since winning back-to-back titles in 1956 and 1960.

They have been finalists on four subsequent occasions, including in 2015 when they were beaten in extra time by hosts Australia.

But Son’s inclusion has clearly energised the Taeguk Warriors, who suddenly look a very different proposition.

China, Asian Cup runners-up in 1984 and 2004, began the competition by edging Kyrgyzstan 2-1 and overpowering the Philippines 3-0.

But they were no match for South Korea and were lucky not to concede further goals in a lop-sided game.

Elsewhere in Group C, a Vitalij Lux hat-trick sent Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Philippines crashing out and gave Kyrgyzstan hope of progressing as one of the best third-placed teams in a 3-1 victory.

German-based Lux struck once in the first half and twice in the second in Dubai before the Philippines grabbed a consolation goal through Stephan Schrock with 10 minutes to go.

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South Korean Coach Paulo Bento Admits Concern Over Son Heung-Min’s Asian Cup Readiness

“He’s probably never played as many games in a row as he has recently. It’s only his second day with us so we will need to check his condition tomorrow before we make any decision on him.

“He’s a very important part of the team obviously,” added Bento, who took charge of South Korea after last year’s World Cup.

“But we won’t take any risks and we also have other options.”

Son has played in 12 matches for Spurs in a little over a month and admitted to feeling some fatigue on his arrival in the Emirates on Monday.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tired,” said the 26-year-old. “But I’m used to playing every three days, so hopefully it will be okay. I’m here to help South Korea lift the Asian Cup.”

South Korea have puzzlingly failed to scoop Asian football’s most coveted prize since winning back-to-back titles in 1956 and 1960.

‘No prima donnas’

They beat tournament first-timers the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in their first two games but were less than impressive without star man Son.

But Bento promised to attack Marcello Lippi’s Chinese side, who currently lead the group on goal difference after edging Kyrgyzstan 2-1 and thrashing the Philippines 3-0.

“We face a good team with a very experienced coach,” said the Portuguese.

“But we have to take risks and attack if we are to achieve our ambition and finish top of the group. With or without Son, our goal doesn’t change — we will try to win.”

Lippi is set to ring the changes as China chase a first Asian Cup title, but he denied reports striker Wu Lei would be sent home with a shoulder injury.

“He’s had a niggle but he’s getting better,” insisted the Italian.

“He isn’t going anywhere — but we won’t be risking him tomorrow.”

China finished Asian Cup runners-up in 1984 and 2004 but Lippi, who steered his native Italy to World Cup victory in 2006, backed his side to make a run at the title.

“To become champions you need good players, which we have,” said the 70-year-old.

“You also have to have complete harmony in the group. You can’t have any prima donnas. If we’re not all working for the same thing it will be very difficult to win this tournament.”

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Stephen Constantine Steps Down As India Coach After AFC Asian Cup Exit

“I’ve been here for four years. My objective from day one was to qualify for the Asian Cup. I’ve done that and we’ve broken a few records. I’m exceptionally proud of the players for everything that they’ve given.

“I think my cycle is finished,” added the 56-year-old, who rejoined India for a second spell in 2015.

“I did what I was asked and quite a bit more and it’s time for me to move on.”

India stunned Thailand 4-1 in their opening game — their first Asian Cup win in more than 50 years — but a 2-0 defeat by UAE made for a nervous encounter in Sharjah. Television showed cut-aways of India’s substitutes biting their fingernails throughout the match, while Constantine prowled the touchline in dark suit and sunglasses barking instructions to his players.

India were indebted to centre-back Sandesh Jhingan, who was being compared on Twitter to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk by the legions of fans watching on TV back home.

The giant, bushy-bearded, defender was immense all game to keep India’s clean sheet intact.

But the Blue Tigers survived a scare when substitute Mohamed Jasim Marhoon’s header hit the post after 71 minutes.

– Clinging on –

India were clinging by the end, at one point packing all 11 players on their own goal line to defend an indirect free kick. Veteran striker Sunil Chhetri, who overtook Lionel Messi in international goals during the win over Thailand, flew out to get the crucial block. Just as it looked like India would hold on for a famous point, Pronay Halder committed a rash foul and Rashed stepped up to smash the ball down the middle to knock India to the bottom of the Group A and out of the tournament.

“Obviously we are bitterly disappointed,” said Constantine. “The boys are sick, as you can imagine. I don’t think we deserved it but it’s the stark reality.

“It’s unlucky we couldn’t hold out for another three or four minutes,” he added. “But I’m pretty sure no one expected us to qualify for the Asian Cup and the boys have exceeded expectations.”

UAE finished with five points, one more than Thailand and Bahrain, who go through as one of the best third-placed teams.

“That is the first time in this tournament I have seen my real Bahrain team show up,” said Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup.

“India defended amazingly but I felt that they were thinking maybe a little bit too much about a draw.”

It looked like being an easy night for the Emirates in Al Ain when striker Ali Mabkhout, top-scorer at the 2015 tournament, netted after just seven minutes.

As the white shirts poured forward, Ismail Al Hammadi’s chipped shot came back off the bar and Mabkhout perfectly placed to nod home the rebound.

But four minutes before half-time, “Thai Messi” Chanathip Songkrasin’s ball into the box triggered panic, leaving Thitiphan Puangjan with a simple tap-in.

“Today I was expecting a better performance. We controlled the game, scored an early goal but then we conceded a goal and we lost concentration,” said UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni. 

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AFC Asian Cup: India is knocked out of the tournament with 0-1 defeat from Bahrain

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Asian Cup 2019: India crashed out of Asia cup in last five minutes as Pronay Halder did blunder


भारतीय फुटबाल टीम को यहां अल शारजाह स्टेडियम में एएफसी एशियन कप (#Asiancup2019) के ग्रुप-ए के अपने तीसरे मैच में बहरीन (#INDvBAH) के खिलाफ 0-1 से हार के साथ ही भारत एशिया कप से बाहर हो गया है. मुकाबले के आखिरी पाच मिनटों में प्रणोय हल्दर की चूक ने भारत को करीब-करीब नॉकआउट राउंड में बन चुकी जगह को खत्म कर दिया. और इसी के साथ ही करोड़ों भारतीय फुटबॉलप्रेमियों का सपना चूर हो गया. भारत 1964 में इस टूर्नामेंट का उपविजेता रहा था लेकिन टूर्नामेंट राउंड रोबिन प्रारूप में खेला गया था और केवल चार टीमों ने ही उसमें हिस्सा लिया था. 

भारत के लिए मैच की शुरुआत खराब रही और दूसरे मिनट में ही सेंटरबैक अनस एदाथोडिका चोटिल हो गए. अनस चोट के कारण मैदान पर अधिक देर तक नहीं टिक पाए और कोच स्टीफन कांस्टेनटाइन ने टूर्नामेंट में पहली बार ईस्ट बंगाल के खिलाड़ी सलाम रंजन सिंह को मौका दिया. बहरीन की टीम शुरुआत से ही भारत पर हावी नजर आई। छटे मिनट में ही गोलकीपर गुरप्रीत सिंह संधू को 18 गज के बॉक्स के अंदर बचाव करना पड़ा. भारत को बढ़त बनाने को पहला मौका 13वें मिनट में मिला. प्रीतम कोटाल ने विपक्षी टीम के बॉक्स में मौजूद फारवर्ड खिलाड़ी अशिक कुरुनियान को पास दिया लेकिन वह हेडर के जरिए गेंद को गोल में नहीं डाल पाए.

यह भी पढ़ें: Spanish League: लियोनेल मेसी का लीग में 400वां गोल, क्रिस्टियानो रोनाल्डो नहीं ही बचेंगे

खेल के 22वें मिनट में हालीचरण नारजारे और 28वें मिनट में सुनील छेत्री भी गोल करने में विफल रहे. पहले हाफ में भारत के फारवर्ड खिलाड़ी अच्छा प्रदर्शन नहीं कर पाए लेकिन डिफेंस में मौजूद खिलाड़ियों ने नॉकआउट राउंड में पहुंचे की भारत की उम्मीदों को जिंदा रखा, खासकर संदेश झिंगन ने कई मौकों पर महत्वपूर्ण टैकल किए। उन्होंने वन ऑन वन की स्थिति में बहरीन के किसी भी खिलाड़ी को गेंद लेकर आगे नहीं जाने दिया। रंजन सिंह और प्रीतम कोटाल ने भी उनका बखूबी साथ निभाया. दूसरे हाफ में भी कोई टीम एक दूसरे पर गोल नहीं कर सकीं. लेकिन मैच के आखिर मिनट में तनाव और दबाव में प्रणॉय हल्दर से गलती हो गई. प्रणोय हल्दर से यह गलती खेल के 90वें मिनट में हुई, जब उन्होंने बहरीन के शम्सन के रास्ते में टंगड़ी अड़ा दी. और रेफरी ने बेहरीन को झट से पेनल्टी किक देने में देर नहीं लगाई, तो पट से राशिद ने गेंद को नेट में डालने में चूक नहीं की.

बहरीन ने यह गोल इंजरी टाइम के पहले और खेल के 91वें मिनट में गोल किया. इसी गोल के साथ ही स्टेडियम में जमा हजारों भारतीय समर्थकों को बाहर बैठे भारतीय मैनेजमेंट के सदस्यों के चेहरे पर मुर्दनी छा गई.साफ हो चला था कि बचे तीन मिनट में कोई चमत्कार ही भारत के लिए कोई गोल करा सकता है. यह चमत्कार नहीं ही हुआ. वैसे यहां से भी भारत के लिए जीत का रास्ता खुला जाता बशर्ते यूएई की टीम थाईलैंड को हरा देती.

VIDEO: कुछ समय पहले भारतीय कप्तान सुनील छेत्री ने एनडीटीवी से बात की थी. 

लेकिन थाईलैंड ने मेजबानों को ड्रॉ पर रोक दिया. और भारत के इतिहास रचने के सभी रास्ते बंद हो गए. और भारत का साल 1964 के बाद पहली बार एशिया कप के दूसरे राउंड में पहुंचने का सपना चूर हो गया. 

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Asian Cup 2019: Bahrain Score Last-Gasp Penalty To Break Indian Hearts

India suffered a heart-breaking 0-1 defeat to Bahrain in their last group stage match to crash out of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in Sharjah on Monday. Jamal Rashed scored from the spot in stoppage-time to propel Bahrain to the round of 16. In the other match in Group A, Thailand secured a 1-1 draw against hosts United Arab Emirates. India finished last in the Group A points table with three points, while the UAE and Bahrain qualified for the knockout stages with five and four points, respectively. Thailand, who lost 1-4 to India in the opening match, still have a chance to make it to the next round.

Entering their final group game following a 4-1 win over Thailand and a 0-2 loss to hosts UAE, a determined India held on for 90 minutes before conceding.

Bahrain dominated the match but could not find a way past a resolute India. The Indian defence repelled attack after attack from Bahrain but it all went south for India in injury-time.

Bahrain converted a penalty in the 91st minute through Jamal Rashed, who made no mistake from the spot after India captain Pronay Halder committed a careless tackle inside the box.

This was India’s fourth appearance in the continental showpiece, beginning with the 1964 edition, in which only four teams participated.

In their next Asian Cup in 1984, India were knocked out in the first round and they suffered a similar fate in 2011, when they lost heavily to Australia, South Korea and Bahrain. 

However, the team under coach Stephen Constantine started the tournament with a demolition of Thailand, sounding a warning that it was not here to make up the numbers.

They were a shade unlucky against the UAE and went down fighting, but looked well below-par against Bahrain. 

The Blue Tigers started off shakily after losing defender Anas Edathodika to injury as early as the second minute, but Sandesh Jhingan and his colleagues managed to stave off the Bahrain strikers until the blunder inside the box.

(With PTI inputs)

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AFC Asian Cup 2019, India vs Bahrain Live Football Score: India Face Bahrain, Look To Seal Round Of 16 Berth

AFC Asian Cup 2019, India vs Bahrain Live Football Score: India Face Bahrain, Look To Seal Round Of 16 Berth

AFC Asian Cup 2019: India defeated Thailand 4-1 in the opening match. © AFP

India were handed a reality check when they lost against hosts United Arab Emirates due to their poor finishing in the previous group stage match of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. However, on Monday, the 97th-ranked India will have a chance to book their maiden knock-out round berth in the continent’s showpiece event when they play Bahrain in Sharjah. A draw against the West Asian side, currently ranked 113, will be enough for India to qualify for the round of 16 for the first time in the tournament after failed attempts in 1984 and 2011. India’s talisman Sunil Chhetri will equal former captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s record of highest appearances for the country at 107 each on Monday. India had finished runners-up in the 1964 edition in Israel but that tournament was played in a round-robin format comprising four countries with the winners being decided on the basis of points collected in the league.

Live Football Score Updates Between India vs Bahrain, 2019 AFC Asian Cup from Sharjah

20:03 IST: Hello and welcome to the live commentary of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 match between India and Bahrain

There was not a single knock-out match in that edition. But even a defeat on Monday may still see India (3 points from 2 matches) through to the knock-out rounds as one of the four third-placed teams if hosts United Arab Emirates (4 from 2 matches) beat Thailand (3 from 2 matches) in Al Ain in the other Group A match to be played simultaneously.

Four third-placed sides from the six groups of four team each will also advance to the knock-out rounds, along with the top two countries. Under the competition rules of the Asian Cup, if two teams end their group stage engagements on equal points, the ranking will be decided first on the basis of head to head result.

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