Photo by AFC

Takehiro Tomiyasu's lone strike sent Saudi Arabia crashing out of the Asian Cup as Japan beat the three-time champions 1-0 to reach the quarterfinals.

Iran Press/Middle East: Takehiro Tomiyasu's first-half header was enough to seal it for Japan as the last-16 game between two teams with seven titles between them failed to live up to its billing.

Japan, record four-time winners of the Asian Cup, march on to a quarter-final with Southeast Asian champions Vietnam despite not yet hitting top form at the tournament, the National reported

Saudi Arabia were in the ascendancy early on but it was Japan who snatched the advantage with a straightforward goal from a set piece after just 20 minutes in the first half.

From a corner, Belgium-based defender Tomiyasu climbed above his marker and nodded firmly into the bottom corner for his first goal of the tournament.

The Saudis twice came close with headers as they tried to get back into the match, and Hatan Bahbri curled one just off-target as he went for the top corner.

AFC Asian Cup 2019: Saudi Arabia 0-2 Qatar in Abu Dhabi

Yoshinori Muto's shot was blocked on the hour-mark but most of the chances were falling to Saudi Arabia, who will rue some wasteful finishing.

Bahbri's shot from outside the box crept narrowly wide and Ali Al-Bulaihi powered a strong header over when the ball was knocked back into the area after a free-kick.

But despite a late flurry it remained another goalless outing for the Saudis, who haven't hit the net since scoring six goals in their first two group games.

The defeat could be Juan Antonio Pizzi's last match in charge of Saudi Arabia. The 50 years old, who took charge of the national team just before last year's World Cup in Russia when the Green Falcons exited at the group phase, told reporters that his contract expires at the conclusion of the Asian Cup and that so far there had been no discussions with the Saudi Arabia Football Federation on renewing it.  105/ 211 /201


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