The newest edition of the Asian Cup kicked off in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend and the thrills, spills and excitement of the tournament were back on display in a highly entertaining start to the newest edition of the continental tourney.

Group A

The United Arab Emirates opened the Asian Cup with an exciting affair against Bahrain as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the ZSC Stadium.

Bahrain opened the scoring through Mohamed Al Romahini with twelve minutes to play before a late penalty from Ahmed Khalil saved a point for the hosts.

India shocked everyone with a 4-1 win over Thailand on the second day of the tournament which saw head-coach Milovan Rajevac sacked at the conclusion of the game.

Sunil Chhetri’s double was enough to see off their opponents as he scored his 67th international goal, putting him second in the most international goals among active players behind Cristiano Ronaldo and equalling Lionel Messi in the process.

Group B

It was a nightmare start for reigning champions Australia, who were defeated by Jordan 1-0 to open their campaign.

A goal from Anas Bani Yaseen against the run of play was enough for the Jordanian outfit to see of Graham Arnold’s charges who were way below par in their opening group game.

Syria and Palestine played out a goalless draw to kick off their respective campaigns as Mohammed Salah was sent off for the Palestinian outfit in the second half.


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Group C

China survived a scare from Kyrgyzstan as they came from behind to claim three points to open their campaign.

Akhlidin Israilov opened the scoring for The White Falcons but China struck back as an own-goal tied the game just after half-time before Yu Dabao scored the match-winner.

South Korea were also made to work as they saw off the Philippines with Hwang-Ui-jo scoring the solitary goal for the runners-up of the previous campaign. 

Group D

Overwhelming favourites to win the tournament, Iran started their campaign in impressive fashion seeing off Yemen with relative ease – defeating them 5-0. Mehdi Taremi was at his best today scoring a double inside the opening half-hour as Carlos Quieroz’ men got off to the perfect start.

Iraq were forced to fight for their first win of the campaign as they saw off Vietnam in an exciting contest to round out Group D. Ali Adnan’s last minute free-kick was enough to get the Lions of Mesopotamia a win in the opening game.

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Group E

Saudi Arabia opened their campaign with a relatively easy victory over North Korea with a 4-0 win. Salem Al-Dawsari was the star of the game scoring their third and sealing the result for one of the tournament favourites.

Qatar’s second half blitz was enough to see of the returning, Lebanon with a 2-0 win at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. Goals from Bazzam Al-Rawi and Almoez Ali did just enough for the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts to get their campaign off to the perfect start.

Group F

Japan survived a major shock in the first half to defeat Turkmenistan 3-2 after they fell behind in the first half. Arslanmyrat Amanow’s incredible strike from range gave the underdogs the leave but Japan were able to fight back with Yuya Osako scoring a second-half double.

A late goal from Eldor Shomurodov gave Uzbekistan their first win of the campaign defeating Oman 2-1 in an exciting contest at the Al-Sharjah Stadium.

Nick D’Urbano