Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Saitama: Visiting minnows Singapore managed to hold off Japan to a 0-0 draw during the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifiers at Saitama Stadium on Tuesday.
Asian giants Japan dominated the proceedings but could not defeat Singapore goalkeeper and eventual Man of the Match Izwan Mahbud (pictured, in green shirt) who showed some spectacular saves.
One of them was when he swatted away Shinji Okazaki’s header just before it crossed the line 10 minutes into the second half.
Moments later, it was Keisuke Honda who was denied as Izwan dived to the left to get a hand on his header.
The participating teams will compete according to a double round robin format, with the Round 2 qualification matches being held between June 11, 2015 and March 29, 2016.
The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup.