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Asian Football

Muang Thong United close the gap to one point

Muang Thong United closed the gap on Buriram United to just one point at the top of Thailand‘s Premier League in today’s midweek round of matches with a 3-2 home win against Ratchaburi. Prayad Boonya had given the visitors the lead but Edivaldo and Dagno Siaka struck back for Muang Thong United before Brazilian striker Douglas equalised for Ratchaburi just before half time. Teerasil Dangda got the winning goal for Muang Thong in the fiftieth minute. Earlier, Buriram United had been held to a goalless draw away at Songkhla United. Third placed Chonburi dropped further ground when they were edged out in a thrilling 4-3 defeat away at struggling Pattaya United, Laksana Kamruen grabbing a last minute winner for United meaning it looks increasingly like a two horse race for the title.

The full set of results from the twenty first matchday is as follows:

Chainat 1-0 Police United
Songkhla United 0-0 Buriram United
Bangkok Glass 2-0 Samut Songkram
Bangkok United 0-4 Army United
Pattaya United 4-3 Chonburi
Suphanburi 2-1 Osotspa Saraburi
TOT 0-5 BEC Tero Sasana
Muang Thong United 3-2 Ratchaburi

Chiangrai United didn’t play in this round as they had been scheduled to face Sisaket, who have been expelled from the league.

Tajikistan beat India in Khujand

Tajikistan made it four wins from five matches so far in 2013 with a 3-0 win against India at the Stadion 20-letie Nezavisimosti in the northern Tajik city of Khujand. Midfielder Nuriddin Davronov of Serbian club Sloboda Uzice opened the scoring in the twelfth minute to put Tajikistan one up and Serbian manager Nikola Kavazovic’s side doubled their lead just six minutes later through Istiqlol’s Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev. That remained the score until the closing stages of the game when Akhtam Khamrakulov of Regar-TadAZ struck to make it 3-0 and seal the win.

Win Koevermans’ India squad were preparing for next month’s South Asian Championship in Nepal in which they will face Pakistan, Bangladesh and the hosts in Kathmandu. However, their form is looking worrying as they have now lost twice in succession and three times in their five outings so far in 2013 and haven’t scored in either of their last two matches.

Oman go top in Asian Cup Qualifying

Oman moved into top spot in Asian Cup 2015 qualification Group A with a 2-0 win against Singapore away at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Qasim Said gave Paul Le Guen’s side the lead in the fourteenth minute and Eid Mohammed doubled the lead on the stroke of half time to seal the eventual win. Oman‘s second win from as many group matches puts them three points clear of Jordan, who play their own second fixture against Syria in neutral Iran tomorrow. Oman had beaten Syria 1-0 in their opening fixture whereas Singapore, who lost 4-0 to Jordan in their first group match now find themselves propping up the table with no points and no goals scored from their two matches and six goals conceded. The table now stands as follows:

Team P W D L F A P
Oman 2 2 0 0 3 0 6
Jordan 1 1 0 0 4 0 3
Syria 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Singapore 2 0 0 2 0 6 0

South Korea held at home by Peru

South Korea were held to a goalless draw by Peru in a friendly match at the Suwon World Cup Stadium today. The Koreans were playing with a team made up of players from clubs in their own domestic league and the Japanese J League whereas the Peruvians had brought along Bundesliga stars such as Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan, as well as Paolo Guerrero of Corinthians. However, none of the South Americans’ attacking talent could unlock the resolute Korean defence and the game ended 0-0.

That result makes it five matches without a win for South Korea with only one goal scored in that period. Since their 1-0 win over Uzbekistan in World Cup qualifying, they have lost at home to Iran and been held to goalless draws by Australia and China in the East Asian Cup before losing to Japan in the same competition. Their next scheduled fixture is a friendly at home to Croatia on the ninth of September.

Peru had lost away at Colombia the previous time out following a decent run of results and they will hope to get back to winning ways when South American World Cup qualifying resumes next month. They face Uruguay at home on the 7th of September and a tripp to Venezuela two days later, with their two final fixtures in October.

Suarez scores as Uruguay win away in Japan

Liverpool’s want away striker Luis Suarez was on the mark for his country today in their impressive 4-2 friendly win over Japan in front of a crowd in excess of forty five thousand at the Miyagi Stadium in Rifu. Suarez set up his Uruguay team mate, Diego Forlan, currently of Internacional in Brazil, to open the scoring in the twenty seventh minute and Forlan grabbed his second of the game only two minutes later to double the advantage before the Japanese defence could recover from the shock of falling behind. Suarez himself scored the third in the fifty second minute as things went from bad to worse for Japan, but the goal spurred them into life and they reduced the deficit through Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa two minutes later when he was set up by playmaker Keisuke Honda of CSKA Moscow. However, the fight-back was short lived as, to the disappointment of the home fans, Lazio’s Alvaro Gonzalez made it 4-1 to the visitors in the fifty eighth minute to round off a frantic six minutes of action. Honda got his own name on the scoresheet with twenty minutes to go to give the Japanese renewed hope of a come-back, but it wasn’t to be and the Uruguayans held on for the win with Suarez having played the full ninety minutes to maintain his match fitness whilst he remain estranged from the Liverpool first team squad.

United beaten by late Marinos winner

Manchester United fell to their second defeat of their pre-season tour when a late winner from Yokohama F Marinos striker Yoshihito Fujita completed the turn-around for the home side to earn them a 3-2 win, having come back from 2-1 down. United had earlier fought back themselves from a goal down to lead 2-1, but were unable to hold on to their advantage in David Moyes’ third game in charge.

Moyes put out a team with a mixture of youth and experience including young prospects Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj and Wilfred Zaha as well as regular first teamers like Van Persie, Evra and De Gea. There was a large crowd at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama and they were treated to an entertaining five goal thriller with action right from the off as veteran Brazilian striker Marcos Gomes De Araujo, known as Marquinhos, gave the home side the lead after only a minute.

Youngster Jesse Lingard continued his fine run of form in front of goal on the tour with an equaliser in the nineteenth minute following good work by Zaha and United took the lead on the half hour mark courtesy of an own goal by Masakazu Tashiro when the ball deflected off him following a free kick into the box. However, the lead only lasted until the opening stages of the second period when another of Ypkohama F Marinos’ Brazilians, defender Fabio Aguiar da Silva, headed in from a corner that De Gea failed to gather. There were more chances for both sides but it was Fujita who eventually won it for the Japanese.

Home favourite Shinji Kagawa came on for Januzaj mid way through the second half for his first United appearance of the tour following his extended holiday after Japan’s Confederations Cup campaign and he certainly got a good reception from the crowd, but was unable to have much impact on the game. Moyes won’t be unduly concerned with his team’s form at this early stage with plenty of players still to integrate the squad, but he will be hopeful of an improvement when they next take to the field against Cerezo Osaka on Friday. The united team in full was as follows:

David De Gea, Fabio, Phil Jones, Johnny Evans (Chris Smalling), Patrice Evra, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Jesse Lingard (Ashley Young), Wilfred Zaha (Ryan Giggs), Adnan Januzaj (Shinji Kagawa), Robin Van Persie (Danny Welbeck).

Singapore Cup Quarter Finals: Hougang take first leg lead

Hougang United took a 2-0 first leg lead from their encounter with Balestier Khalsa in the first of this week’s Singapore Cup Quarter Final clashes at the Hougang Stadium. Midfielder Mohamed Fazli bin Jaffar broke the deadlock with a goal in the sixty sixth minute English striker Liam Shotton doubled the lead just four minutes later to put Hougang in control of the tie ahead of this Friday’s second leg. However, Hougang United, who are struggling down in eleventh spot in the twelve team S. League but knocked out league leaders Tampines Rovers in that last round of the cup, will be certain to face a stiff test when they make the trip to fifth placed Balestier Khalsa and a two goal advantage may yet not prove to be enough. Balestier Khalsa had an easy draw in the previous round against bottom side Young Lions and were strong favourites to take this tie, as Hougang United had been on such a dreadful run of late with four successive defeats and no wins in seven games since their victory over Tampines Rovers before today’s surprise win.

There’s more Singapore Cup action every day for the next seven days as the three other first leg ties take place one day at a time followed by the four second leg ties. Tomorrow’s fixture sees Geylang International host Home United before Brunei DPMM visit Global on Wednesday and Tanjong Pagar play Loyola on Thursday.

Related Links: Football in Singapore

Friendly Result: Nagoya 1-3 Arsenal

Arsenal continued their pre-season preparations with a comfortable 3-1 win over Japanese club side Nagoya Grampus at a packed Toyota Stadium just outside Nagoya City. The Gunners took an early lead through Olivier Giroud in only the third minute and doubled their advantage with a penalty in the twenty sixth minute. Arsenal’s Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi was handed responsibility for the kick and delighted his home fans by converting it for 2-0. The third goal came ten minutes into the second half when Theo Walcott beat the keeper to make it 3-0 and complete Arsenal’s scoring. The Japanese struck back in the seventy second minute when Kisho Yano headed home.

It was a strong and experienced Arsenal line-up with Lukasz Fabianksi in goal and a back four of Bakari Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs. Thomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Ryo Miyaichi made up the midfield with Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott up front. There were plenty of substitutions in the second half as Jack Wilshere, Lukas Podolski and youth teamers Gedion Zelalem and Serge Gnabry replaced Miyaichi, Rosicky, Giroud and Arteta for the restart, Ignasi Miquel later replaced Gibbs and Chuks Aneke and Chuba Akpom came on for Walcott and Ramsey mid way through the half as Wenger experimented with his squad. Next up for Arsenal is a game against Urawa Reds on Friday.

Iran thrash Lebanon to go second in Group A

At the Azadi Stadium in Tehran this evening, Iran romped to a comfortable 4-0 win over hapless Lebanon in Group A of the Asian World Cup Qualifiers to keep themselves right in the mix for the automatic qualification spots. Goals from Mohamad Khalatbari, Reza Ghoochannejhad and a brace from Esteghlal midfielder Javad Nekounam easily saw off the Lebanese, who finish their campaign bottom of the group with only five points from their eight matches. Carlos Queiroz’ Iran team move up into second, leapfrogging Uzbekistan with one game left to play.

Iran‘s win means that fourth placed Qatar have now lost any slim hopes they still had of reaching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. That leaves three teams vying for two automatic qualification spots going into the last round of fixtures next week when leaders South Korea host Iran and the Uzbeks take on Qatar. Whichever of the top three misses out on an automatic spot will at least now be guaranteed to finish third and make the play-off against the third placed team from Group B.

Uzbekistan need to win their final match to have any chance of coming in the top two, and they will be favourites to do so at home in Tashkent against the already eliminated Qataris. If they draw or lose then South Korea and Iran will both qualify whatever the result between them in Ulsan, but should the Uzbeks win then they will progress with the Koreans if South Korea beat Iran. An Uzbek win couple with a draw in the other match would mean it comes down to goal difference between Uzbekistan and Iran and likewise an Uzbek win coupled with an Iranian win would mean it comes down to goal difference between Uzbekistan and South Korea, so it’s going to be fascinating watching that unfold next week.

The teams were:

Iran: Ahmadi, Montazeri, Heydari, Nekounam, Shojaei (Mosalman 69), Teymourian, Hosseini, Beikzadeh (Hajsafi 80), Jabari (Rezaei 71), Ghoochannejhad, Khalatbari

Lebanon: Hassan, Jounaidi, Daher, A Ahmad Atwi, Maatouk, Chamass, Salameh (Mansour 76), Chaito (Matar 45+1), Kojok (M Atwi 67), Shamsin, Zain Tahhan

The current Group A table is as follows:

Group A P W D L F A P
South Korea 7 4 2 1 13 6 14
Iran 7 4 1 2 7 2 13
Uzbekistan 7 3 2 2 6 5 11
Qatar 7 2 1 4 4 8 7
Lebanon 8 1 2 5 3 12 5

Japan round off campaign with last gasp win against Iraq

Japan finished their World Cup 2014 qualification campaign on a high with a last minute winner against Iraq at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha. It was VFB Stuttgart midfielder Shinji Okazaki who grabbed the only goal of the game after the Iraqis had been reduced to ten men due to the sending off of Ala’a Abdul Zahra for a second bookable offence in the 82nd minute.

The result means that Alberto Zaccheroni’s men finish with seventeen points from their eight Group B matches and a record of five wins, two draws and one defeat. Iraq still have one match to play away at Australia but they cannot now qualify for the finals as they are four points behind the third place that earns a play-off spot. The team line-ups were as follows:

Iraq: Noor Sabri, Ali Rehema, Ahmad Ibrahim Khalaf, Dhurgham Ismail, Ali Adnan, Ateeh Saad (Karrar Jassim 85), Saif Salman, Younis Mahmoud, Ala’a Abdul Zahra, Hammadi Ahmad (Ali Bahjat 79), Waleed Salim

Japan: Kawashima, Konno, Inoha (Takahashi 90+4), Nagatomo, Sakai, Endō, Hosogai, Okazaki, Kiyotake (Nakamura 67), Havenaar (Maeda 70), Kagawa

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