Iran, Japan among big winners in Malaysia

The pair hit double figures to set up crucial clash with Bahrain and UAE on Wednesday.

Iran, Bahrain, Japan and the UAE will go head to head for top spots in their respective groups after all picking up victories at the AFC Beach Soccer Championship on Tuesday.

With only the three group winners guaranteed spots in the semi-finals, alongside the best runner-up, Wednesday promises to be an entertaining round of matches, with Japan warming up in style by registering double figures for the second match running as they beat Iraq 11-2.

Japan – finalists in every edition of the tournament to date – encountered only fleeting resistance from their Group C opponents as four-goal Oba Takaaki ran riot to set up a winner-takes-all match-up against UAE.

The UAE recorded their second AFC Beach Soccer Championship victory on Tuesday as they moved past Qatar in a routine 8-1 success.

The 2007 and 2008 champions got off to a blistering start against their Group C rivals and never looked back, Waleed Beshr scoring twice in a win that keeps alive the UAE’s hopes of a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup spot.

In Group A, Iran will go head to head with Bahrain for top spot after cruising past China 10-0.

The former champions proved why they are ranked fifth in the world with an accomplished display as the likes of Mohammadali Mokhtari and Farid Boulokbashi powered Iran into a confirmed top-two position.

Earlier, Bahrain were made to work hard as they held off a late Afghanistan fightback to claim a 6-4 victory. Both sides stood a chance of making the top two their own going into the game but it was Bahrain who surged into a 5-2 lead at the end of the second frame.

Afghanistan battled back to within a goal but ultimately fell short in a brave display, while, in the other game of the day, Lebanon opened their campaign with a fine 6-1 success against Thailand.

The Thais were impressive in their defeat to defending champions Oman a day earlier but had no answer to Lebanon’s power as Alex Domingos Braga’s men claimed a victory that keeps alive their hopes of topping three-team Group B.


Tuesday results

10.00: Qatar 1-8 UAE

11.30: Iraq 2-11 Japan

13.00: Thailand 1-6 Lebanon

14.30: Bahrain 6-4 Afghanistan

16.00: China 0-10 Iran

Wednesday fixtures

10.00: Iraq v Qatar

11.30: Japan v UAE

13.00: Oman v Lebanon

14.30: Malaysia v China

16.00: Iran v Bahrain

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