Genki Haraguchi's penalty leads Japan to 1-0 victory over Oman

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-14 03:36:09|Editor: yan
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ABU DHABI, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Genki Haraguchi scored a first-half penalty to help Japan advance to the knockout stage with a 1-0 victory over Oman in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on Sunday.

Yuya Osako, who netted a double helping Japan beat Turkmenistan 3-2 in the first round, was absent with a hip injury. Japan came close to lead within two minutes, but Genki Haraguch's shot bounced off the crossbar.

Four-time Asian champions kept pressure in the front but they met impressive Oman goalkeeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi, who made a string of saves.

Rusheidi made a brilliant double save in the 26th minute, denying Takumi Minamino's shot from the center of the box and following up to turn away a second attempt. However, Japan earned a controversial penalty two minutes later and Haraguchi gave the Blue Samurai the lead from the spot.

Japan were fortunate to escape a penalty just before the break when Yuto Nagatomo blocked Salaah Al-Yahyaei's shot with a clear handball as the referee was unmoved.

"I have seen the reply and it was a 100 percent penalty for us, " Oman coach Pim Verbeek said, "but I am not the referee, so I don't want to talk too much about it."

"Japan is better than us today, but they missed some opportunities in the first 20 minutes, then they got a lucky penalty."

Both sides failed to create good chances in the second half as Japan won seven successive group stage games in the Asian Cup for the first time in history.

Compared to other favourites like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Japan should have converted their dominance into a more straightforward victory in their campaign to seek the Asian title for a record fifth time.

"We qualify to the last 16, but If we play like the second half today, we won't beat anyone in the knockout stage," Genki Haraguchi said.