Osako's 2 goals send Japan to Asian Cup final

Osako's 2 goals send Japan to Asian Cup final

Osako's 2 goals send Japan to Asian Cup final

Asian Cup favourites Iran were sent crashing out of the tournament after suffering a 3-0 defeat by record four-time winners Japan at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium yesterday.

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Forward Yuya Osako did the damage in the second half by scoring the first goals conceded by Iran in the tournament.

"I'm happy the players showed that fighting spirit and really went for the win".

Asia's top-ranked team Iran, who sit 29th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, had not conceded a goal at the tournament before yesterday. He helped them qualify for 2 World Cup finals and was responsible for Iran attaining the number 1 ranking among Asian teams in 2013.

Iran started as the more aggressive side and after 10 minutes Alireza Jahanbakhsh nearly played in Sardar Azmoun, only for central defender Takehiro Tomiyasu to deny the striker.

Carlos Queiroz announced in the post-match news conference that his almost eight-year run as Iran coach, which took in two World Cups, was over.

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Hossein Kanani turned to protest to referee Chris Beath following a collision with Minamino and, while the Australian official ignored the Iranian pleas, Minamino showed the presence of mind to scamper after the ball.

Iran sprang into life soon after - Sardar Azmoun playing a brilliant one-two with Vahid Amiri, before slipping the ball through Takehiro Tomiyasu's legs and forcing a fine save from Shuichi Gonda.

He converted from the penalty spot 11 minutes later after VAR confirmed Iran defender Morteza Pouraliganji's handball in the area.

The former Manchester United assistant led the national side to only their second ever win in World Cup history when they beat Morocco in Russian Federation last summer, but they narrowly missed out on qualification from the group stage, finishing a single point behind Spain and Portugal.

The UAE's biggest success in the tournament was to play in the 1996 Asian Cup final.

It was a body-blow for Iran, but worse was to come when Pouraliganji was adjudged to have handled in the box, a decision that could have gone either way.

The Iranian squad will play without Mehdi Taremi, who was suspended after picking up a second booking in a quarterfinal victory over China.

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