UAE 2019 hopefuls impress
Kuala Lumpur: Several of the Continent's best were in action on Friday as they continued their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 UAE, playing international friendly matches across the Continent.
Korea Republic scored a major win as they beat World No 5 Uruguay 2-1, Japan defeated Panama 3-0, Qatar edged Ecuador 4-3, Palestine overcame Tajikistan on penalties to take the Bangabhandu Gold Cup while Saudi Arabia produced a fighting performance in their 2-0 loss to five-time FIFA World Cup winners Brazil.
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KOREA REPUBLIC 2-1 URUGUAY
Korea Republic scored a stunning 2-1 win over Uruguay at a packed Seoul World Cup Stadium.
It was a massive win for the World Number 55 Taeguk Warriors, who are ranked 50 places below the South Americans.
It was richly deserved victory as Korea Republic took the lead in the 66th minute through Hwang Ui-jo, who scored off a penalty rebound.
Hwang had earned the penalty when he was tripped by Sebastian Coates in the box. Son Heung-min's spot-kick was saved by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera but Hwang pounced to slot the rebound home.
While the home team had dominated possession, Uruguay had more attempts on goal and they drew level through Matias Vecino, who capitalised on a defensive error in the 72nd minute.
Korea Republic, however, were not to be denied a famous win as Jung Woo-young scored from close range and they will be aiming to stretch head coach Paulo Bento's start to three wins in four matches when they play Panama on Tuesday.
JAPAN 3-0 PANAMA
Niigita City: Japan, chasing a record fourth AFC Asian Cup, flexed their muscles with a commanding 3-0 win over Panama at the Denka Big Swan Stadium.
In a keenly contested match which saw the home team register 17 attempts, Japan took the lead through Takumi Minamino in the 42nd minute.
The Blue Samurai, who advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, doubled their lead through Junyo Ito in the 66th minute.
Victory was sealed in the 85th minute when Panama's Harold Cummings put the ball into his own net.
Up next for World Number 54 Japan is a friendly against Uruguay on Tuesday.
BANGABHANDU GOLD CUP
PALESTINE 0-0 TAJIKISTAN (Palestine win PSO 4-3)
Dhaka: Palestine's AFC Asian Cup 2019 UAE preparations received a boost when they defeated Tajikistan on penalties to lift the Bangabhandu Gold Cup.
The final ended 0-0 after 120 minutes with Palestine goalkeeper Rami Hamadi emerging the hero by saving Tajikistan's third and fourth spot-kicks as the West Asians won the shootout 4-3.
The teams had met earlier in the group stage with Palestine registering a convincing 2-0 win but Tajikistan were a different side in the final at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Palestine advanced to the final after a 2-0 win over hosts Bangladesh while Tajikistan ended the campaign of the Philippines, who will also see action in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, at the last four stage with a 2-0 triumph.
QATAR 4-3 ECUADOR
Doha: Qatar defeated Ecuador 4-3 in a thrilling friendly at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Akram Afif gave Qatar the lead in the 32nd minute and Almoez Ali doubled the advantage of the hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup four minutes later to give the West Asians a comfortable lead going into the half time break.
Hassan Al-Haydos scored from the penalty spot in the 61st minute and Qatar looked to be cruising only for Enner Valencia to reduce Ecuador's deficit in the 66th.
Qatar, however, restored their advantage just two minutes later when Al Duhail striker Ali scored his second of the match.
FT: Qatar 🇶🇦 4 -3 🇪🇨 Ecuador— #AsianCup2019 (@afcasiancup) October 12, 2018
Qatar record a win against Ecuador in an international friendly at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium! pic.twitter.com/H4TRS0UVp6
Ecuador, however, refused to concede defeat and Valencia scored his second in the 71st and Jose Francisco Cevallos Jr set up an exciting finish with his strike in the 89th minute.
Ecuador's hopes of at least a share of the spoils was, however, dashed when Valencia was shown the red card four deep into added time.
Qatar's next match as they buildup to the AFC Asian Cup 2019 UAE is a friendly against Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
SAUDI ARABIA 0-2 BRAZIL
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia produced a steely performance but Brazil proved too strong as the South Americans scored a 2-0 win over the West Asians at the King Saud University Stadium.
Although Brazil held the majority of possession, Saudi Arabia were not overawed as they matched the the five-time FIFA World Cup winners for most of the first half.
However, Brazil took the lead through Gabriel Jesus two minutes before the break but Saudi Arabia were far from demoralised when the match resumed.
The Green Falcons tried to find the equaliser but suffered a blow in the 85th minute when Mohammed Al-Owais was sent off and Brazil doubled their lead deep in stoppage time through Alex Sandro.
Up next for Saudi Arabia are Iraq on Monday as both teams continue their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 UAE.
Photos: Korea Football Association, Bangladesh Football Federation, Qatar Football Association, AFP
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