AFC Asian Cup: Qatar scores late to draw with defending champions Japan

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Monday, July 9, 2007

2007 AFC Asian Cup Group B
Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
Vietnam 3 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2
Japan 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
Qatar 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
United Arab Emirates 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2
2007 AFC Asian Cup Group B table as of June 9, 2007.

An eighty-eighth minute goal has given Gulf Cup champions Qatar a 1-1 draw with Japan in their 2007 AFC Asian Cup Group B match at the My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Three-time champions and current defending champions of the Asian Cup competition, Japan scored in the sixty-first minute through prolific striker Naohiro Takahara. They held the lead for nearly half an hour before Sebastián Quintana levelled the scores at 1-1 for Qatar.

Japan's goal was the result of a clever finish by Takahara after getting on the end of a Yasuyuki Konno cross from the left-hand wing. A series of passes around the edge of Qatar's penalty area ended up with a through-ball for Konno on the left, who precisely drilled his left-footed cross for Takahara to smartly strike on the half-turn into the net.

Japanese midfielder Yuki Abe fouled Quintana two metres outside the box, and Quintana sweetly struck the ball to the right of the defensive wall and past Japanese goalkeeper and captain Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi on eighty-eight minutes.

The drama-packed last few minutes included the goal as well as a straight red card against Qatar defender Hussain Yasser for a reckless tackle. Australian referee Matthew Breeze adjudged Yasser to have dangerously lunged at Japanese midfielder Hideo Hashimoto with the studs showing, collecting him both late and above the ball, two minutes into injury time.

Qatar coach Džemaludin Mušović was sent away from the sideline by Breeze immediately following Yasser's dismissal, after overzealously protesting the referee's decision to send his player off. When Mušović initially failed to leave, the sideline-based fourth official intervened and he made his way to the grandstand.

The result leaves underdog hosts Vietnam on top of Group B after their upset victory over the United Arab Emirates yesterday.

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