HANOI, July 9 (Reuters) - Uruguay-born Sebastian Quintana fired a dramatic late equaliser to earn Qatar a 1-1 draw against holders Japan in their Asian Cup opener on Monday.
Naohiro Takahara's close-range strike after 61 minutes had
looked good enough for Japan until Quintana's deflected free
kick flew into the top corner in the 88th minute.
'We were careless!' Japan coach Ivica Osim fumed after his
side's failure to kill off the game. 'This result could make it
difficult for us. The players have got to learn to turn style
Eintracht Frankfurt striker Takahara clinically tucked in
Yasuyuki Konno's flicked cross with a left-foot volley for his
20th goal in 48 internationals.
But Japan were undone after Yuki Abe's clumsy foul on
Quintana, who blasted the subsequent free kick past Yoshikatsu
Kawaguchi from 25 metres with the help of a deflection.
Japan, bidding for a third straight Asian Cup title, trail
Vietnam in Group B after the co-hosts' 2-0 win over United Arab
Emirates at the weekend.
Even a red card shown in stoppage time to Hussain Yaser
failed to dampen the joy of Qatar coach Dzemaludin Musovic, who
was also ordered down the tunnel for protesting the decision.
'Of course Japan won't be happy with the result,' said
Musovic, who was assistant to Osim when he led Yugoslavia to
the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup.
'But we deserved to take a point and I think we can be a
danger to any team in the tournament now.'
Yaser will be banned for Qatar's game against Vietnam on
Thursday while Musovic could also face sanction pending an AFC
Japan playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura said Qatar's last-gasp
equaliser had shocked the holders, who never really hit their
stride in Hanoi's clinging humidity.
'We were in control and then it was just a sense of 'ugh!'
when they scored,' Nakamura told Reuters.
'We need to learn to finish the game off with a second
The Celtic midfielder added: 'Abe feels gutted right now
after the foul but we'll bounce back.'
Japan face UAE in their second game on Friday.
This year's tournament is being staged jointly by Vietnam,
Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The final is in Jakarta on