AFC ASIAN CUP

My Dinh National Stadium

Referee: Satop Tongkhan | Attendance: 4000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

United Arab Emirates

  • S Al-Kas 66'

1 - 3

FT

Japan

  • Naohiro Takahara 22'
  • Naohiro Takahara 27'
  • Shunsuke Nakamura 41' PEN

Japan back on track

HANOI, July 13 (Reuters) - Japan got their bid for a third successive Asian Cup title firmly back on course with a convincing 3-1 victory over United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Striker Naohiro Takahara scored twice as Japan rebounded

from a disappointing 1-1 draw with Qatar in their opener to go

top of Group B on goal difference above co-hosts Vietnam.

'It was so hot that it was hard to play... 45 minutes was

difficult enough,' Japan's enigmatic Bosnian coach Ivica Osim

told reporters.

'But obviously the ball never gets tired. It was important

that we had about 95 percent of the possession and just wore UAE

down by controlling the tempo.'

Takahara, who played despite suffering from a fever he

picked up on the evening of the game, put Japan in front after

22 minutes with a powerful header.

The former Boca Juniors forward who now plays for Eintracht

Frankfurt doubled Japan's lead five minutes later, volleying

home from 20 metres for his third goal of the tournament.

Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura added a third goal from

the penalty spot four minutes before halftime to kill off a game

played in sweltering conditions in Hanoi.

UAE's plight went from bad to worse to worse when Basheer

Saeed was sent off for a nasty foul on Keita Suzuki eight

minutes into the second half.

The Gulf Cup holders managed a consolation goal in the 66th

minute through Saeed Al Kaas but it came too late to prevent

them becoming the first team eliminated from the Asian Cup.

'I lost two kilos just watching because of the heat,' said

UAE coach Bruno Metsu. 'If you don't fight with every last drop

against Japan you have no chance.'

The Frenchman added: 'Japan are the best team in Asia and

they have the individual players who can turn a game.'

Japan face Vietnam and Qatar meet UAE in the final round of

Group B games on Monday. This year's Asian Cup is being staged

jointly by Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Scoring Summary

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Japan
S Al-Kas (66')

Teams

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Japan
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards
Essa Ali (34')
Majed Nasser (39')
Haydar Alo-Ali (52')
S Al-Kas (79')
Red Cards
Bashir Saeed (54')