Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Asian Cup: Australia and Japan to contest final

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 26, 2011

Australia have reached the 2011 AFC Asian Cup final in Qatar this weekend after crushing Uzbekistan by six goals to nil in yesterday’s semi-final. Japan also went through but did it the hard way as Alberto Zaccherroni’s men needed a penalty shoot out to get the better of arch-rivals South Korea.

There were six different scorers for the Socceroos as they put Uzbekistan to the sword in a game which was expected to be a lot closer than it was. Harry Kewell opened the scoring after just five minutes for the Aussies who then had Sasa Ognenovski to thank for doubling the advatage ten minutes before half-time. David Carney extended the lead on 66 minutes and when Ulugbek Bakaev was shown the red card just sixty seconds later for a rash challenge then the game was over as a contest. Three more strikes in the closing fifteen minutes from Brett Emerton, Carl Valeri and Robbie Kruse sealed the deal for Australia who reach their first Asian Cup final in only their second tournament since coming over from the Oceania Football Federation five years ago.

Japan are still in the hunt for a fourth Asian Cup title following a dramatic encounter with Asian heavyweights South Korea. Ki Sung Yong and Ryoichi Maeda exchanged goals for the Koreans and Japanese respectively in the first half and those goals remained the only strikes of a tantalising 90 minutes play. Extra-time proved even more action-packed when Hajimi Hosogai gave Japan the lead after 97 minutes only to see Jae Won Hwang equalised with a last-gasp 120th minute strike to take the game into a penalty shoot out. The Koreans, having forced the game into a spot kick lottery, then lost their nerve in the shoot out losing 3-0.

Uzbekistan and South Korea must now contend themselves with a 3rd/4th play-off match on Friday whilst Japan and Australia will face-off for the trophy on Saturday at the Al Khalifa Stadium in Doha.

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AFC: Iran and Iraq complete Asian Cup octet

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 20, 2011

Defending champions Iraq qualified for the quarter-final stages of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup along with Group D winners Iran as the full line-up for the next round is known.

Iraq got through a tough tie against North Korea on Wednesday with a slender 1-0 win thanks to a 22nd minute Karrar Jassim goal. Iran were being held in their final group match by the United Arab Emirates before Arash Afshin’s 70th minute opener opened the floodgates for the group leaders. Iran, who had only needed a point in any case to win the group, finished the job with a strike from Mohammed Morui and a Walid Abbas own goal giving them a 3-0 win.

QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

Uzbekistan v Jordan

Japan v Qatar

Australia v Iraq

Iran v South Korea

Ties to be played on January 21-22

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AFC: Australia and South Korea through as expected

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 18, 2011

2011 AFC Asian Cup logoIn the latest round of 2011 AFC Asian Cup matches being played in Qatar there were no shocks to be had as Australia and South Korea confirmed their status as the two top teams in Group C and progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Australia finished top of the group when defeating Bahrain 1-0 in their final group match which was played today. The match was played in terrible weather conditions, the heavy rain not making it easy for either team to play fluent football, but there were some good moments to be had.  The best one came in the 37th minute when Australia’s Mile Jedinak fired home from long range to score the decisive goal which gave the Socceroos all three points. In the other game South Korea were always favourites to dispose of rank outsiders India but the priority was scoring as many as they could in order to leapfrog over the Australians on goal difference. Ji Dong-Won scored the first of his two goals as early as the sixth minute with Koo Ja-Cheol doubling the Koreans’ advantage just three minutes later. Sunil Chhetri managed to pull one back for India in the 12th minute via the penalty spot but when Ji Dong-Won bagged his second goal of the game after  23 minutes many feared that the Koreans’ opponents could be subject to a cricket score but, thankfully for the Indians, only one more followed. Son Heung-Min grabbed his team’s fourth with nine minutes of the match remaining but no further goals meant that South Korea hadn’t done enough to gain top spot.

Australia and South Korea had seven points from three games, the former pipping the latter to first place by virtue of one goal, and they will find out tomorrow upon the completion of Group D who they will face in the next round. Bahrain had three points to show from their efforts in third place whilst India, who qualified for the tournament having won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, found out the hard way that the AFC Asian Cup contains a level of opponent from removed from that which they faced in order to get to Qatar in the first place.

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AFC: Japan and Jordan seal quarter-final berths

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 17, 2011

There were eight goals in the final two Group B games in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and the results determined who would meet up with Group A’s top two, Uzbekistan and Qatar, in the next round.

Japan sealed top spot in Group B turning over Saudi Arabia by five goals to nil. The Japanese went for it straight from the first whistle and were duly rewarded with a 3-0 lead in the first twenty minutes thanks to a brace from Shinji Okazaki and a strike from Ryoichi Maeda. Both players would go on to add a further goal each in the second half as the Saudis were dumped out of the tournament without a single point to their name after three matches.

In the other game Jordan had to come from behind to clinch second spot in a tough encounter against Syria. Mohamad Al Zino gave the Syrians the lead after a quarter of an hour but they would gift Jordan an equalizer just fifteen minutes later when Ali Dyab inadvertently put the ball in his own net. The deciding goal of the game came just before the hour mark when Odai Al Saify bagged the all-important clincher to give Jordan a 2-1 lead and a place in the quarter-finals.

Group B winners Japan will face off against Group A runners-up and hosts Qatar whilst Group A winners Uzbekistan will meet Jordan. The remaining quarter-final ties will be decided over the next couple of days.

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AFC: Uzbekistan and Qatar through to quarter-finals

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 16, 2011

AFC Asian Cup 2011 logoIn the 2011 AFC Asian Cup today hosts Qatar join Group A table-toppers Uzbekistan into the quarter-finals of the competition. Uzbekistan needed only a point from their game against China to secure progress whilst Qatar needed all three points in their final group game against Kuwait.

Hosts Qatar were desperate to go beyond the group stage in their second hosting of this tournament and they started their game against Kuwait in fine fashion scoring twice in the first quarter of an hour. Bilal Mohammed got the first on 12 minutes with a header from close range getting the better of Kuwait keeper Nawaf Al Khaldi whose misery was increased just three minutes later when he and his defence were unable to deal with the Qatari attack as Mohamed El Sayed scored the second after much uncertainty in the box. The game was a pretty comfortable affair for Qatar in the end as they were able to resist any attempts at goal from Kuwait and sealed the deal with four minutes of the game to go when a free-kick from Fábio César Montezine made it three for the hosts.

Uzbekistan were pretty much certain of a place in the last eight but made sure of their progression as group winners in an entertaining 2-2 draw against China. Yu Hai gave the Chinese the lead when heading home a fifth minute corner at the near post. Uzbekistan restored parity on the half hour mark when Odil Ahmedov slotted the ball home inside the six yard box and the game was turned on its head in the 46th minute when the Uzbeks made it 2-1 thanks to an unstoppable long-range strike from Alexander Geynrikh. But China didn’t take long to get back on level terms following a fantastic free-kick from Hao Junmin in the 55th minute, scoring what was arguably the best goal of a thrilling encounter.

Uzbekistan finished the group with seven points from three games, one more than fellow qualifiers Qatar, and they await the outcome of tomorrow’s games in Group B before knowing who they will face in the next round.

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Asia: Iran defeat champions; Matchday 1 Review

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 11, 2011
Iman Mobali

Iman Mobali scored Iran's winner

With each team having played their opening game of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup the tournament’s group phase will begin to get interesting from here. Stoppage Time looks back at the competition so far and previews the next round of matches.

Group D began today with defending champions Iraq facing their neighbours and old adversaries Iran. Iraqi captain Younis Mahmoud gave his side the lead after 12 minutes converting from close range but the Iranians equalized just four minutes before half-time when Gholamreza Rezaei beat the offside trap and slotted the ball past Iraqi keeper Mohammed Gassid. The second half saw Iran up the tempo whilst Iraq, more often the not, were on the back foot but were holding on. Six minutes before the end of the game Iran got the chance they were hoping for when they were awarded a free-kick on the left-hand side of the pitch. The resulting kick from Iman Mobali evaded everybody in the box and caught the keeper flat-footed as it saw its way home to give Iran a 2-1 lead they never relinquished. In the other game of the day North Korea blew their chance to claim three points as Yong Jo-Hong missed a penalty early in the first half in their goalless stalemate against the United Arab Emirates.

The 2011 AFC Asian Cup opened on Friday and has witnessed 19 goals in the first eight games of the competition. The opening match saw hosts Qatar miss their chance to start the tournament on a high as they lost 2-0 to Uzbekistan in Group A. China also began Group A with a win defeating Kuwait by the same scoreline thanks to second half goals from Zhang Linpeng and Deng Zhouxiang. Syria have got the wind in their sails in Group B as they are the only team with three points following their opening match 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia whilst their other group opponents Japan and Jordan could only muster a 1-1 draw. For the Japanese, a round of 16 team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the draw was a disappointing way to begin but they still have every chance of claiming top spot. The big winners in the competition so far have been Australia who got off to a flying start in Group C with a 4-0 win over 2008 AFC Challenge Cup winners India with a brace from Tim Cahill followed up with goals for Harry Kewell and Brett Holman. Australia are expected to qualify from this group along with South Korea who were also opening day winners with a 2-1 win over Bahrain, Jo-Cheol Koo getting the crucial double strike for the Koreans.

Arguably the pick of the bunch in the next round of games will be the top of the table clash between Group C rivals Australia and South Korea who both have serious title ambitions. In Group A it will be tough for the host nation to salvage their title hopes as they face off against leaders China whilst in Group B the Japanese will want to show table toppers Syria that they are back on track following their opening match blip.

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Asia: Uzbekistan gain win in Asian Cup opener (+video)

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 7, 2011

The 2011 AFC Asian Cup has begun in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar and the hosts participated in the opening game against Uzbekistan. Unfortunately for the hosts Uzbekistan managed to silence the home crowd by scoring two second half goals and seal the opening three points of the tournament. Odil Akhmedov scored a screamer with 57 minutes played, firing home from long range giving Qatari keeper Qusem Burhan no chance. With thirteen minutes to play the game was over following some calamitous defending from the home side, gifting the perfect opportunity to Server Djeporov to score the second goal of the game which he did with great aplomb. A fantastic start for Uzbekistan who will play Kuwait on Wednesday whilst Qatar must make up some ground when they take on China on the same day.

WATCH MATCH GOALS HERE:

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AFC: Asian Cup 2011 Tournament Preview

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 4, 2011

AFC Asian CupThe Middle Eastern country of Qatar is still on a high following its successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This month the oil rich country has the opportunity to showcase itself to the world and prove that its victory was justified when it hosts the 15th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the first time it has held this event since 1988. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog previews the tournament which begins on Friday by looking at all sixteen contenders for the prestigious trophy.

GROUP A (CHINA; KUWAIT; QATAR; UZBEKISTAN)

CHINA: qualified for the finals after finishing runner-up in Group D just one point behind Syria and way ahead of Vietnam and Lebanon. The Chinese will be participating in their tenth AFC Asian Cup and will hope to do better than four years ago when they failed to get past the group stage. Have finished runners-up twice in 1984 and 2004, losing to Saudi Arabia and Japan respectively but don’t expect them to do any better this time. FIFA World Ranking = 87

KUWAIT: qualified for the finals finishing runners-up in Group B where they finished behind Australia and ahead of Oman and Indonesia. The Kuwaitis have reached the finals of this tournament for the ninth time and haven’t come close in recent years to emulating their one and only triumph which came in 1980 when they got the better of South Korea in the final. At least they’ve already done better than four years ago, a tournament which they failed to qualify for. FIFA World Ranking = 102

QATAR: hosting the tournament for a second time, twenty-two years after hosting their first. Qatar have never done better than reach the last eight of the competition which they did in the 2000 tournament hosted by Lebanon. They lost to China on that occasion, a country who they will meet in this year’s group stage and the Qataris will expect nothing less than a quarter-final place this time. Four years ago they went out in the group stage. FIFA World Ranking = 114

UZBEKISTAN: qualified for the tournament in one of the easiest fashions imaginable. Their group was reduced from four teams to three and they won three of their four games to qualify as runners-up behind United Arab Emirates who had a similar record but were pipped first place due to goal difference. Four years ago Uzbekistan reached the quarter-finals but were narrowly beaten by Saudi Arabia. This will be Uzbekistan’s fifth appearance in the Asian Cup. FIFA World Ranking = 109

GROUP B (JAPAN; JORDAN; SAUDI ARABIA; SYRIA)

JAPAN: qualified for the tournament by virtue of winning all but one of their six games in Group A finishing three points ahead of Bahrain. Japan had to be content with fourth place in 2007 following a semi-final defeat to Saudi Arabia and 3rd/4th play-off loss to South Korea on penalties. This will be Japan’s eighth tournament appearance and they will hope to add a record breaking fourth title win to the honours board following wins in 1992, 2000 and 2004. FIFA World Ranking = 29

JORDAN: finished five points behind Iran in tournament qualifying round Group E and will make only their second appearance in the Asian Cup finals six years after they made their first. On that occasion Jordan made it through the group stage and were unlucky to go out at the quarter-final stage to eventual winners Japan when losing in a penalty shoot-out. A repeat of that perfromance might be difficult to do seeing as they face Japan and Saudi Arabia in their group. FIFA World Ranking = 104

SAUDI ARABIA: qualified automatically for this tournament having finished as runners-up in the 2007 tournament. Four years ago the Saudis were beaten by surprise package Iraq in the final and it meant that a record breaking fourth title went slipping from their fingers. Saudi Arabia will feature in their ninth finals and have been successful in this tournament three times including in 1988 when the AFC Asian Cup was played in Qatar. Can history repeat itself? FIFA World Ranking = 81

SYRIA: finished top of Group D by just a solitary point ahead of China and well ahead of Vietnam and Lebanon. Syria’s last appearance in the Asian Cup came in 1996 when they finished third behind China and Japan in the group stage and failed to reach the knockout rounds. Indeed Syria have failed to get past the first round in each of the four tournaments they have participated in. Syria will hope not to finish fourth and their match against Jordan is the only one they have any real chance of winning. FIFA World Ranking = 107

Younis Mahmoud

Iraqi captain Younis Mahmoud with the trophy in 2007

GROUP C (AUSTRALIA; BAHRAIN; INDIA; SOUTH KOREA)

AUSTRALIA: featuring in only their second tournament after joining the Asian Football Confederation just five years ago. Finished top of Group B ahead of Kuwait, Oman and Indonesia to qualify for their second finals. Their maiden appearance came four years ago when they reached the quarter-final stage having finished second in their group behind eventual champions Iraq. Sadly for the Aussies they went out on penalties to Japan in the last eight but they hope to do better this time around. FIFA World Ranking = 26

BAHRAIN: were just three points behind Japan in their qualifying group and got through to the finals ahead of Yemen and Hong Kong. Failed to progress from the group stage four years ago where they ended up bottom of their group propping up the likes of Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Indonesia. This will be Bahrain’s fifth tournament finals with their best showing coming in 2004 when they reached the semi-finals losing to Japan in a thrilling game of football. FIFA World Ranking = 93

INDIA: qualified for this tournament as far ago as 2008 when they won that year’s AFC Challenge Cup, a tournament for second-tier Asian football nations. They beat the likes of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Myanmar and Tajikistan (twice) to claim that crown and have been preparing for this tournament ever since. This will be only their third appearance in the Asian Cup finals and a repeat of their second place finish in 1964 is very unlikely indeed. FIFA World Ranking = 142

SOUTH KOREA: qualified for this tournament when winning the 3rd/4th place play-off in the 2007 tournament when defeating Japan on penalties. South Korea have a distinguished history in this tournament having qualified, along with Iran, more times than anyone else and will be making their 12th appearance this time around. South Korea have also got their hands on the trophy on two occasions but those triumphs were in the first two competitions all the way back in 1956 and 1960. FIFA World Ranking = 40

GROUP D (IRAN; IRAQ; NORTH KOREA; UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)

IRAN: got through to this year’s Asian Cup finishing ahead of Jordan, Thailand and Singapore in Group E. Iran, just like South Korea, have chalked up the most tournament appearances so far and will be playing in their 12th finals. They’ve also won the competition on three occasions, a joint-record, which all came consecutively in 1968, 1972 and 1976. Since then the Iranians have achieved four 3rd place finishes and reached the quarter-finals last time out losing to South Korea on penalties. FIFA World Ranking = 66

IRAQ: qualified automatically as the surprise champions in 2007. They battled against Australia, Thailand and Oman in the group stages before getting the better of Vietnam, South Korea and Saudi Arabia in the knockout rounds to win their maiden AFC Asian Cup title. This will be their seventh appearance in the finals and it is unlikely that Iraq will repeat their triumph of four years especially now that the surprise factor has gone. Their game against neighbours Iran is one of the ties of the group stages. FIFA World Ranking = 101

NORTH KOREA: qualified for the Asian Cup finals by winning the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup, Asia’s second-tier football tournament. They finished top of their group containing Turkmenistan, Krygyzstan and India before defeating Myanmar and Turkmenistan (again) to win the competition. Following their 2010 FIFA World Cup appearance the world now knows a bit more about North Korean football and there’s potential for this team to spring the odd surprise this time out in their 2nd appearance. FIFA World Ranking = 108

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: progressed, along with Uzbekistan, from the three-team qualifying Group C. The United Arab Emirates will be making their eighth tournament finals showing and, despite being one of Asian football’s stronger nations, have never won the competition to date. Their best effort was in their home tournament in 1996 when they finished runners-up having lost out to Saudi Arabia in the final following a penalty shoot out. FIFA World Ranking = 105

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AFC Asian Cup 2011 Qualifying Round News

Posted in Asian Football, International Football by peterbein on March 3, 2010
Mark Milligan

Australia's Mark Milligan secured qualification for the Socceroos in their 1-0 win over Indonesia

The qualifying rounds for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup were completed on Wednesday and all sixteen teams going to the tournament proper next year are now known. A couple of teams were made to sweat it out during the qualifying process but most of the expected participants got through without too many problems. Six countries didn’t have to go through the main qualification process due to either being hosts (Qatar), finished in the top three in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup (Iraq, Saudi Arabia, South Korea) or had won the AFC Challenge Cup, a tournament for emerging Asian footballing nations, in 2008 (India) or 2010 (North Korea). Therefore ten places had been up for grabs in the qualifiers and “Stoppage Time” takes you through each of the five groups:

GROUP A (1st – JAPAN 6 games/15 points; 2nd – BAHRAIN 6/12; 3rd – Yemen 6/7; 4th – Hong Kong 6/1)

Japan won the group with relative ease only going down to defeat once in six games when they lost away to nearest challengers Bahrain on Matchday Two. Shinji Okazaki was among the top scorers of the qualfying phase with five goals as the Japanese swept the opposition aside. Bahrain, who lost a FIFA World Cup play-off to New Zealand last November, found some consolation in finishing second in this group, a comfortable five points ahead of third-place Yemen. Whipping boys Hong Kong did manage to get a draw at home to Yemen on Matchday Six but were far from a threat, only scoring one goal in qualifying.

GROUP B (1st – AUSTRALIA 6/11; 2nd – KUWAIT 6/9; 3rd – Oman 6/8; 4th – Indonesia 6/3)

Mark Milligan sealed top spot for the Socceroos in their final group game against Indonesia, scoring the only goal for Australia in their 1-0 victory at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. The group didn’t prove to be such a walk in the park for the Aussies but they did enough to qualify in the end. The real tension on Matchday Six was reserved for the Sultan Qaboos Stadium in Muscat as home side Oman still had a chance of qualifying for the second qualification spot from Group B but had to get past the challenge of Kuwait who just needed a draw to qualify. Oman piled on the pressure, especially in the last ten minutes of the game, but the Kuwaitis did all the resolute defending they could in order to hold on to that vital second spot.

GROUP C (1st – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 4/9; 2nd – UZBEKISTAN 4/9; 3rd – Malaysia 4/0)

India were originally scheduled to be the fourth team in this group but after their success in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup received a bye into next year’s tournament proper. Therefore there were only four games for the three remaining teams and it was never in doubt as to who would qualify given the gulf in class between the two qualifying nations, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, and the wooden spoonists Malaysia. The two games involving the top two both ended one-nil to the visitors, in the case of the second encounter on Matchday Six the UAE scored the winning goal two minutes into second half stoppage time. Therefore goal difference in both teams’ games against Malaysia was the deciding factor in who finished where in the group. The UAE’s 5-0 away win over Malaysia in Matchday One proved to be the decisive result as it helped the UAE finish with +6 whilst Uzbekistan ended up close on +4.

GROUP D (1st – SYRIA 6/14; 2nd – CHINA 6/13; 3rd – Vietnam 6/5; 4th – Lebanon 6/1)

Again there weren’t any surprises in this group although China’s campaign did help divert people’s attention from the corruption scandal currently besetting their domestic league. Both Syria and China had qualified when Matchday Six came along but both teams wanted to win their last game and hope the other slipped up in order to finish top of the group. As it happened both teams won easily, Syria defeating Lebanon 4-0 in Aleppo thanks to goals from Mohammad Al Zino, Abdulfatah Al Agha, Jehad Al Hussien and Abdul Razak Al Housain whilst China’s final match against Vietnam was more of a contest, the Chinese winning 2-1 thanks to strikes from Yang Zu and Zhang Linpeng.

GROUP E (1st – IRAN 6/13 ; 2ND – JORDAN 6/8; 3RD – Thailand 6/6; 4TH – Singapore 6/6)

Iran had already qualified for the finals when they played their Matchday Six game at home to Bryan Robson’s Thailand side but the game still held a lot of importance. Thailand were fighting it out for second place along with Jordan and Singapore, who were playing against each other in Amman. Both games, therefore, contained many permutations where one of the other three could qualify for Qatar 2011. Eventually it was the Jordanians who were celebrating having beaten Singapore 2-1 at home. As the game entered stoppage time news had filtered through to the ground that Iran had beaten Thailand 1-0 thanks to a last-minute goal from Javad Nekounam.