AFC Beach Soccer Championship semi-finalists confirmed

Iran, Japan, Lebanon and the UAE into the final four after the group stage finale.

Iran, Japan, Lebanon and the UAE will contest the AFC Beach Soccer Championship semi-finals on Friday after the group stage drew to a close on Wednesday.

All but Japan clinched their respective groups with wins while Marcelo Mendes’ side progress as the best runners-up despite a 5-4 loss against the UAE.

The Group C rivals played out an enthralling encounter in Kuala Terengganu, where the UAE became the first team into the final four.

Both teams had maximum points prior to their meeting and Japan were in control when Ozu Moreira and Goto Takasuke ensured a two-goal cushion late in the second frame.

However, the UAE roared back and, amid a dramatic finale, did enough to tie up top spot, while Lebanon’s 4-3 win against the holders was similarly gripping.

Ahmed Grada was the hero for Lebanon against Oman as his header ensured a 4-3 victory that sees Alex Domingos Braga’s men finish top of Group B.

Oman led with a minute remaining but saw their hopes of a title defence diminish when Lebanon captain Mohamad Merhi levelled with a free-kick before Grada nodded in the winner with less than four seconds left to seal a dramatic victory.

Malaysia and Iraq picked up wins to ensure they avoided finishing bottom of their respective groups, the hosts beating China 2-1 thanks to goals from Zaharim Yusof and Mohamad Fakhruddin while Ali Joudah registered Iraq’s crucial spot kick in a 3-2 shoot-out win against Qatar.

Wednesday results

10.00: Iraq (3) 2-2 (2) Qatar

11.30: Japan 4-5 UAE

13.00: Oman 3-4 Lebanon

14.30: Malaysia 2-1 China

16.00: Iran 5-2 Bahrain

Friday fixtures

14.30: UAE v Lebanon

16.00: Iran v Japan

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