DOHA - A last minute goal from Masahiko
Inoha gave Japan a 3-2 comeback victory over hosts Qatar in the
quarter-finals of the Asian Cup on Friday.
Inoha was on hand to side-foot in to an empty net after
Japanese forward Shinji Kagawa had broken the offside trap and
drawn a challenge from Qatar goalkeeper Qasem Burhan.
Japan fully deserved their victory in an entertaining match
in which they were reduced to 10 men with an half an hour
remaining after Maya Yoshida was sent off for a second yellow
card for a foul on Qatar forward Yusef Ahmed.
"It was a very difficult match. Even after going a man down
we had more of the possession. That a defender scored our final
goal showed what Japanese football is all about," Japan coach
Alberto Zaccheroni told reporters.
Qatar, ranked 105th by FIFA and bidding to reach the last
four of the tournament for the first time, were not overawed by
"We have shown the world that we are very strong and we
showed that we can play good football, however we made mistakes
and we were punished," Qatar coach Bruno Metsu said.
Qatar took a surprise lead in the 12th minute when their
Uruguayan-born striker Sebastian Suria sprang the offside trap,
sprinted down the right then cut inside Inoha and fired a
left-foot shot under goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.
Japan's Italian coach Zaccheroni was left complaining to
officials that the referee should have blown for offside but
television replays showed Inoha had played Soria onside.
The goal snapped Japan in to life after their sluggish start
and they began dominating possession with the attacking trio of
Kagawa, Shinji Okazaki and Keisuke Honda creating problems.
The equaliser came in the 28th minute when Okazaki snuk in
to lift a shot over Burhan with Kagawa nodding the ball over the
line from a metre out for his first goal of the tournament.
Japan continued to enjoy the majority of possession and
better chances in the second half as their slick, sharp passing
game left Qatar retreating deeper and leaving the dangerous
Suria isolated in attack.
But the game changed in the 62nd minute when Yoshida was
dismissed for bringing down Qatar's Ahmed.
Brazilian-born substitute Fabio Cesar whipped in the
resulting free-kick which curled inside the near post, catching
out Kawashima who was positioned behind the goal-line.
Qatar sniffed victory and pushed men forward but Japan
regrouped and equalised when Kagawa neatly finished from inside
the area in the 70th minute.
Both sides then spurned half chances but Inoha was in the
right place at the right time to send the three-times winners
into the last four.
"We had bravery to keep our attacking game," Zaccheroni
said. "We lost one man because of sending off - players were
looking tired - Qatar did not change their attacking play even
though we were one man short so that gave us chance to come
Bayern fans snap up 45,000 tickets to watch Champions League final live at Allianz Arena
When Sir Alex wakes up on Monday morning without team to manage, he will not be putting his feet up
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder announces he will be retiring at the end of the current season
Record goal-scorer signs a one-year contract extension with Europa League winners Chelsea
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010