• FT-PENS

    Iraq

    0 (4)

    South Korea

    0 (3)

  • FT

    Japan

    2

    Saudi Arabia

    3

AFC ASIAN CUP

National Stadium Bukit Jalil

Referee: Saad Kameel Al Fadhli | Attendance: 12500

* Local time based on your geographic location.

(4) 0 - 0 (3)

FT-Pens

Iraq win 4-3 on penalties

Saudis snap Japan jinx to reach Asian Cup final

HANOI, July 25 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia ended Japan's bid for a third straight Asian Cup title on Wednesday, Malek Maaz scoring twice in a 3-2 win to send the Saudis into the final.

Maaz sent his nation into their sixth final in the last

seven tournaments with a superb solo goal, wriggling past three

Japan defenders before smashing the ball into the top corner.

'We're delighted,' Saudi Arabia coach Helio Cesar dos Anjos

told reporters. 'To beat the best team in Asia means so much.

It was the best game of the Asian Cup.'

Saudi Arabia, who lifted the Asian Cup in 1984, 1988 and

1996, face Iraq on Sunday in Jakarta after the Iraqis knocked

out South Korea on penalties to reach their first final.

'Tonight was a huge victory for Arab football,' said

Brazilian Anjos. 'I hope it will bring peace and happiness to

the people of Iraq and also in Saudi Arabia.'

The Saudis had never previously beaten Japan at the Asian

Cup, including defeats in the 1992 and 2000 finals, but they

were the sharper team throughout in Hanoi.

Saudi captain Yasser Al Qahtani had volleyed his side in

front in the 35th minute but Japan took just two minutes to

pull level through defender Yuji Nakazawa's towering header.

Maaz restored Saudi Arabia's lead with a bullet header two

minutes into the second half only for Yuki Abe to equalise

again for Japan with an acrobatic volley in the 53rd minute.

'We let them off the hook,' shrugged Japan's Bosnian coach

Ivica Osim. 'We had more chances but couldn't take them. They

had three and scored them all.

'We looked tired and we ran out of ideas. One or two of our

key players simply didn't play well enough.'

Japan, who had beaten Australia in a penalty shootout in

the quarter-finals, take on South Korea in the third-place

playoff in Palembang, Indonesia on Saturday.

Scoring Summary

  • Iraq
  • South Korea
 
 

Teams

  • Iraq
  • South Korea
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards
B Abbas (59')
Nashat Akram (110')