- Sardar Azmoun stars as IR Iran book last 16 ticket
- Iraq cruise past Yemen into knockout stage
- Saudi Arabia beat Lebanon to reach Round of 16
Three more sides confirmed their places in the next round of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 with comfortable wins across the board. FIFA.com rounds up all the action from Matchday 8 as IR Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia all made sure their campaigns will live beyond the group stage.
Vietnam 0-2 IR Iran, Group D
Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Vietnam enjoyed a bright start, but Iran didn’t take long to settle into their stride. Team Melli looked most dangerous when whipping the ball in from wide, so it was fitting that Sardar Azmoun opened the scoring with his head following a superb flowing move shortly before the break.
SAFF Championship winners Vietnam looked sharper still when they came back after half-time, but they failed to show the sharpness needed to draw level. You couldn’t level the same criticism at Azmoun as, when the ball broke to him on the edge of the box, he clinically fired home to rack up his third of the tournament and seal victory for Iran.
Yemen 0-3 Iraq, Group D
Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah
Iraq forward Mohanad Ali Khadim capitalised on a lackadaisical back pass by Yemen midfielder Hussein Al-Ghazi before going on a mazy run across his opposition’s penalty area and unleashing a rocket past Saoud Al-Sowadi to give coach Srecko Katanec’s side an early lead. It was yet another error from Yemen’s defence that led to Iraq doubling their lead as Ahmed Al-Sarori’s failed clearance eventually led to Bashar Resan Bonyan finding the net with a deflected shot.
Alaa Abbas scored his first international goal in stoppage time to put the icing on the cake for the Lions of Mesopotamia. Abbas drove an unstoppable shot past a helpless Al-Sowadi after Ahmed Yaseen Gheni found him with a perfectly-cushioned header.
Iran and Iraq will meet each other in the group’s final matchday to determine who will finish first in the group, while Vietnam and Yemen have faint hopes of progressing as they will play for the chance of finishing as one of the best third-placed teams.
Lebanon 0-2 Saudi Arabia, Group E
Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Saudi Arabia made it two wins from two at UAE 2019 with a confident victory over Lebanon. Fahad Al Muwallad punished Lebanon within 12 minutes for some poor defending and finished emphatically with a shot that kissed off the crossbar before going in to give the Green Falcons the lead.
Hussain Almoqahwi ensured the Saudis would be coming away with all three points when he latched on to the end of a clever cross sent in by Hatan Bahbri. Saudi Arabia confirmed their place in the knockout stage with the result and will have one more test against Qatar in Group E before the Round of 16.