Four-time champions Japan reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar after beating Bahrain on Wednesday.
Japan secured a 3-1 win over Bahrain at Al Thumama Stadium thanks to goals from Ritsu Doan, Takefusa Kubo, and Ayase Ueda. Bahrain finished top of their group ahead of the tournament favourites South Korea, but failed to beat Japan. Hajime Moriyasu’s side will meet either Iran or Syria in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup on Saturday.
Doan put the Japanese in front in the 31st minute. Maikuma unleashed a fabulous shot from outside the area. The keeper was beaten, but the ball hammers into the post. The rebound fell to Doan who showed great composure to slot the ball home from inside the penalty area.
Kubo doubled the lead three minutes into the second half. The Real Sociedad midfielder received the ball inside the box after the free kick was sent into the penalty area. Kubo turned and fired home, with the goal being awarded after a VAR check for an offside call.
Bahrain scored in the 64th minute after a mix-up between Ueda and Zion Suzuki. A corner from the left found the head of Baqer. Japan keeper Zion Suzuki saved his header, but as he attempted to catch the ball when it looped up in the air, Ueda tried to head it clear, and they collided as the ball went over the line.
Ueda restored Japan’s two-goal lead in the 72nd minute. Maikuma slipped the Japanese forward in, and he broke away from two Bahrain defenders. He fired a shot across goal from the right-hand side of the area, putting the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper.