An Ali Mohammad-inspired comeback did not quite prove enough for the UAE, as Japan kept their nerve from the penalty spot to clinch the AFC Beach Soccer Championship in Thailand.
Japan were 2-0 up inside 16 minutes, Masayuki Komaki opening the scoring before a scorching long-range volley by the superb Ozu Moreira, which made for his ninth goal of the tournament.
The UAE did not let their heads drop and six minutes later, Waleed Beshr’s laser-guided pass fell into the path of Mohammad, who applied a simple finish.
Mohammad played the poacher once again almost immediately after, prevailing from a goalmouth scramble after keeper Humaid Jamal had found the crossbar from the other end of the pitch.
In the second period Humaid and Beshr went close again, while Okuyama threatened with a header, but the sides could not be separated in regulation.
Ultimately UAE skipper Walid Mohammad missed the all-important spot-kick in the shootout, giving Takaaki Oba the chance to slam home and secure Japan’s third Asian title.
Both teams will be appearing at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay – as well as third-place Oman – in November as Asian representatives thanks to their efforts in the competition.
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