Asian Cup 2019: Samurai Blue slice through Iran as clinical Japan claim 3-0 win

Matt Jones - Editor 20:07 28/01/2019
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Japan will go in search of a record-extending fifth Asian Cup trophy after they swept aside Iran 3-0 in Al Ain.

Yuya Osako scored twice and Genki Haraguchi finished off previously impressive Iran in stoppage time to set up a final date with either the UAE or Qatar.

After an engaging but ultimately fruitless first half, the game burst into life just before the hour. Osako began and finished the move, playing in Takumi Minamino who retrieved possession to swing in an arching cross that Osako buried past the helpless Alireza Beiranvand.

Ten minutes later and it was advantage Japan when they made it 2-0. Minamino was again at the heart of the matter, getting in down the left channel and his cut-back harshly adjudged to have been handled by Morteza Pouraliganji.

Iran fans cheered loudly as VAR was called upon, but it was the Samurai Blue supporters who could be heard when the official held firm and stuck with his decision. They were even more vociferous when Osako calmly slotted in his second to give Japan a commanding lead.

As Iran pushed for a way back into it, they were caught on the break late on when Hannover midfielder Haraguchi killed them off.

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