By Paul Nicholson in Abu Dhabi
January 17 –Last night Iran and Iraq treated us to a fractious encounter. Two proud nations who have a political history of conflict delivered an at times niggly if not quite full-on encounter. Tonight the Asian Cup delivers War GamesII – Qatar vs Saudi Arabia, the blockbuster game to end the group stages.
January 17 – Iran advanced to the last 16 of the Asian Cup as group D winners after a goalless draw with local rival Iraq. Vietnam defeated Yemen 2-0 to remain in contention for a knockout ticket.
January 16 – South Korea coach Paulo Bento heralded Tottenham’s Son Heung-min as a pivotal influence in his team ‘s 2-0 win over China. Son, featuring in the starting eleven, earned an early penalty and assisted his team’s second goal.
By Abdelaziz Abuhamar
January 16 – Iraq’s wonder kid Muhannad Ali set a new regional record in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 by becoming the youngest Arab player to ever score in the continental showpiece. He has also become the third youngster to have scored in the competition’s history.
By Samindra Kunti
January 16 – A Son-inspired South Korea passed their first major test of the Asian Cup by beating China and Marcello Lippi 2-0 to win Group C with a perfect record and nine points. The wait for the Tottenham star was over and his impact was immediate, forcing an early penalty and provided an assist to set his team on the path to victory.
By Paul Nicholson and Samindra Kunti in Abu Dhabi
January 16 – Palestine’s football team is unavoidably and inextricably linked with their national struggle, frankly, the Israelis have made it so. With their border blockades of players, equipment and even visiting national teams, the Israelis have few friends in Asian football, and probably wouldn’t even be part of the football world if FIFA president Gianni Infantino hadn’t controversially saved them from a vote to exclude them last Congress.
By Abdelaziz Abuhamar
January 15 – Chinese striker Yu Dabao has made AFC Asian Cup history by scoring the fastest goal-ever in the history of the continental tournament by a substitute.
By Samindra Kunti in Abu Dhabi
January 15 – Jordan topped Group B on seven points with a hard-earned goalless draw against Palestine, a result that left Palestine’s fate in the balance in third place with two points.
January 15 – Syrians will be sick of the sight of Australians after history repeated itself in Al Ain when a rocket from Tom Rogic sent the Syrians home for the second time in a year from a major tournament.
By Andrew Warshaw
January 15 – It was nowhere in the script. Yet in a matter of days, Stephen Constantine, the only English coach at the Asian Cup, went from hero to zero, resigning as India’s head coach after they were knocked out following a 1-0 defeat by Bahrain.
January 15 – The Asian Football Confederation the AFC has fined Lebanon coach Miodrag Radulovic for comments about the referees after his team’s 2-0 defeat by Qatar in their opening game last week. The Montenegrin will have to pay $7,500 for his remarks.
January 14 – Defending champions Australia, Palestine and Syria will battle on Tuesday for the remaining knockout spots in Group B. Jordan, the surprise package of the tournament so far, have already qualified as group winners.
January 15 – UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni was satisfied with his team’s 1-1 draw against Thailand, but says he expects his team to improve as the knockout stages loom. The hosts will now meet China or South Korea in the round of 16.
January 14 – In the pre-match talk they were barely mentioned. Despite drawing their opening game against their more fancied UAE hosts, Bahrain had been written off from progressing against an India that was being trumpeted as having dramatically awoken from its football slumber.