Iran and Iraq advance at Asian Cup, Saudis on verge

Saudi Arabia's defender Ali Albulayhi, right, celebrates with his goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais, left, after their teammate Fahad Al Muwallad scores the opening goal, during the AFC Asian Cup group E soccer match between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Iran and Iraq advanced to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup on Saturday with a game to spare

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Iran and Iraq advanced to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup on Saturday with a game to spare.

Three-time champion Iran beat Vietnam 2-0 and secured its spot in the round of 16 when 2015 semifinalist Iraq beat Yemen 3-0 in another Group D game.

Another three-time champion, Saudi Arabia, moved closer to gaining its spot in the next round after beating Lebanon 2-0 in Group E.

With two wins each, Iran and Iraq meet in Dubai on Wednesday to decide the group winner.

Saudi Arabia meets Qatar on Thursday to close the group stage in a highly charged game amid the political tensions between the two nations.

The top two teams in each group and the four best third-placed teams advance to the round of 16.

It was a record ninth successive victory for Iran in Asian Cup group matches. Asia's top-ranked team has dominated possession and looked comfortable in its opening two games, scoring seven goals without conceding.

Iran's Sardar Azmoun took care of the goals against Vietnam, scoring in each half.

Saman Ghoddos crossed for the forward to put Iran ahead with a close-range header before halftime. Azmoun added his second in the 69th with a left-footed strike from the middle of the box for his third goal at the tournament.

Vietnam lost a second straight match after falling to Iraq 3-2.

Iran is led by former Real Madrid and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, who is chasing a major title with Iran after eight years in charge.

In Sharjah, Mohanad Ali Kadhim and Bashar Resan Bonyan scored with low shots from outside of the area early in the first half to give Iraq a comfortable advantage against Yemen. Substitute Alaa Abbas sealed it in second-half injury time.

Yemen and Vietnam are pointless and will fight for third place in Al Ain on Wednesday.

In Dubai, Fahad Al Muwallad opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game and Hussain Almoqahwi doubled the lead in the 67th.

With two wins from two, Saudi Arabia leads Group E with six points and could advance with a game in hand if North Korea fails to beat Qatar on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia won its opening two games at the Asian Cup for the first time since 1996, when it last won the title.

After two defeats, Lebanon faces a must win against North Korea to have a chance to make it to the next round.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Related News

Bangladesh reaches dominant 250-2 at tea against...

Jan 31, 2018

Mominul Haque hit 103 ball-107 not out as Bangladesh reached a dominant 250-2 at tea on the first...

Bangladesh takes upper-hand against Sri Lanka

Jan 31, 2018

Mominul Haque hit 175 not out as Bangladesh took the upper-hand in the first test against Sri Lanka...

De Silva's 104 not out leads Sri Lanka reply vs...

Feb 1, 2018

Dhananjaya de Silva scored 104 not out as Sri Lanka made a strong reply after dismissing Bangladesh...

Mendis and de Silva bat Sri Lanka to 504-3 in 1st...

Feb 2, 2018

Opener Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have hit career-best centuries as Sri Lanka has reached...

Sri Lanka eyes final-day win with 713-9;...

Feb 3, 2018

Sri Lanka set up a potential final-day victory in the first test against Bangladesh after smashing...

Mominul makes history with second century in...

Feb 4, 2018

Mominul Haque became the first Bangladesh player to score centuries in both innings of a test as...

About Us

We’re all about evolving the love of sports. With The Sport Ship, you can up your game and receive all the latest news about the sports world before anyone else.

Contact us: sales[at]thesportship.com

Subscribe Now!