Asian Games: Japan and UAE through to the final
The Asian Games football tournament Gold Medal match will see Japan and the United Arab Emirates fighting it out for the honours following their semi-final wins over Iran and South Korea respectively. The two losing semi-finalists will play off for the consolation of a bronze medal as a warm-up for the final which takes place tomorrow in Ghangzhou.
Japan had to come from behind in their 2-1 semi-final win over Iran and now have high hopes of winning their first ever Asian Games football title. The best that the Japanese have ever done in this tournament was a second place finish in the 2002 games in Busan, South Korea so Thursday’s final represents a great chance for Japan to finally win the gold. Arash Afshin gave Iran the lead after just six minutes but Kota Mizunuma restored parity seven minutes before the break. The decisive moment came on the hour mark as Japan’s Kensuke Nagai scored a wonderful winning goal, going past a couple of defenders before unleashing a shot low into the corner, which helped his country reach their second ever Asian Games football final.
In the other semi-final a penalty shoot-out seemed like a real possibility as the game between the United Arab Emirates and South Korea was goalless after 120 minutes of play. But, in stoppage time of second half extra-time, Ahmed Ali Alabry hit the crucial goal which put the UAE into the final. The middle eastern state has never won a medal of any colour at the Asian Games football tournament as they have never made the final four of any tournament going into this year’s games. What’s the betting that they will upset the odds and go all the way in their first final appearance?
Read Stoppage Time – International Football Blog to find out.