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14 Mar 2019
Semi-finals decided at the AFC Championships!
Japan edge Iran in the extra time, as UAE, Palestine and Oman secure place amongst the Best 4
Japan, Palestine, UAE and Oman will fight for the first two tickets to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 at stake in the semi-finals of the AFC Beach Soccer Championships Thailand 2019 tomorrow. A dramatic quarter-finals stage has seen Iran out of the race for the first time in 10 years, as well a historic step for Palestine, who will compete amongst the best four in the continental stage for the first time in their history.
Oman 5-3 Bahrain
In the first of the quarter-finals today, Khalid Al Oraimi became the key man for Oman in their 5-3 win over Bahrain. This defeat leaves Bahrain out of the race for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, ending their dreams to get back to the World's master competition after a 10-year absence.
Bahrain struck first, and managed to level things back after Oman's 2-1, and 3-2, managing to get 3-3 onto the final period. But in that time, the Omani geared up, with Al Oraimi and Yahya sealing the win for Thalib Hilal's side.
Japan 3-2 Iran (extra time)
A breath-taking quarter-finals clash had Iran out of the race for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time in the last decade. A great comeback by Japan, concluded in the last minutes of the extra time, saw the Samurai Blue progressing to the semi-finals, what gives them the chance to secure one more ticket to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, thus extending their record as the only team in the world never to miss one single edition of the global showpiece.
Two free kick attempts, by Mahdi Shirmohammadi the first one and 2018 Rising Star of the Year Mohammad Moradi the second, had Iran commanding the score by the end of the first period.
But before the second leg was over, Shusei Yamauchi cut the distance in half and, midway through the last period, Takuya Akaguma headed home the equalizer for his team. The score would not move again, and the game walked onto extra time.
Takuya Akaguma confirmed his heroic performance with a perfectly-aimed free kick which sent the Samurai straight to the semi-finals, where they will take on Palestine with the ticket to the World Cup, and a place in the AFC Beach Soccer Championships Final, at stake.
UAE 8-1 Malaysia
UAE had things more thoroughly addressed, with an incontestable 8-1 win that had them secure the semi-finals spot. Braces by Jamal, Walid and Haitham, plus the contribution by Al Bahri and Ali Mohammad had things sealed for the Emirati, who will take on Oman tomorrow in the fight for their sixth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup appearance.
Palestine 4-3 Lebanon
Palestine confirmed their great moment his evening, following a tight win over Palestine that get them onto the semi-finals of the AFC Beach Soccer Championship taking place in Pattaya (Thailand), what already means their best records in history.
Mehri and Fattal led the early efforts by the Lebanese, with the latter opening the score, only to find the Palestinian immediate response. Mehri swept Lebanon ahead again, but, in less than two minutes, Abuobayda balanced things back.
Amazingly enough, the story repeated for a third time, as Fattal's 3-2 was neutralized within seconds, due to Maisara Al Bawwab. It seemed impossible for Lebanon to take a consistent lead, but things were about to get worse, as, with only 90 seconds remaining, Al Neirab was truck down by goalkeeper Choker inside the box. The Palestinian forward would not miss the chance, thus qualifying his team for the semi-finals, where they will face Japan with the chance of sealing a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup berth for the first time, as well as the opportunity to fight for the Asian throne in the AFC Beach Soccer Championships final.
For complete results and standings, click here.
More information at AFC official site.