Almoez brilliance and Qatar’s defensive blockade shock Japan

Japan 1 Qatar 3

By Paul Nicholson

February 1 – The Qatar football project is bearing fruit. Ably supported by an army of Omanis who once again had driven across the border, this time in their thousands, to support them, Qatar lifted their first-ever Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi with a 3-1 win over a Japanese team that started as favourites.

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Iran raise their game a level to blow Chinese away

China 0 Iran 3

By Paul Nicholson in Abu Dhabi

January 24 – Earlier in the Chinese dancers had put on a display of poise and elegance in the Fan Zone on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche. Come the evening it was Iran’s turn to turn on the style as they terrorised China’s lead-footed defence running out 3-0 winners, setting up a semi-final clash with Japan.

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Battling Bahrain take South Korea to extra time

Bahrain 1 South Korea 2

January 22 – South Korea edged Bahrain 2-1 after a nervy 120 minutes to book a spot in the last eight of the Asian Cup. The Bahrainis resisted the Korean onslaught for long periods but in the end succumbed to Kim Jin-su’s first international goal, a far-post header, in the 115th minute.

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