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Thursday, Sep 25, 2014

Sports

Asian Games: Japan crush Palestine football hopes

AFP | Thursday, Sep 25, 2014

Footbal player Akino Hiroki (R) of Japan and Hana Musab Battat (L) of Palestine compete for the ball during the men's 1/8 final at the Hwaseong Main Stadium during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on September 25, 2014.

INCHEON, South Korea - Defending champions Japan hammered Palestine 4-0 on Thursday to set up an Asian Games quarter-final clash with South Korea, while 10-man China crashed out against Thailand.

Wataru Endo, Musashi Suzuki, Takuma Arano and Riki Harakawa scored the goals that ended the Palestinians' impressive run in the tournament.

In other second round games, South Korea beat Hong Kong 3-0, while Jordan dealt with Kyrgyzstan 2-0 after extra time to book their quarter-final slots. The Jordanians now play Thailand, who beat China 2-0 with two spectacular Adisak Kraisorn goals.

Palestine, who won their qualifying group, struggled to create chances and their goal was soon under siege. Endo smashed home a one-two with Suzuki to make it 1-0 for Japan in the 17th minute.

Suzuki headed in a right-wing cross by Harakawa for his fifth goal of the tournament midway through the first half.

Within a minute of coming on as second-half substitute for Suzuki, Arano shot home the third and in the 82nd minute, Harakawa picked up a rebound of Gakuto Notsuda's close-range effort for the fourth. 

Japan coach Makato Teguramori said he was now looking forward to Sunday's quarter-final against hosts South Korea, who beat Hong Kong with second-half goals from Lee Yong-Jae, Park Joo-Ho and Kim Jin-Su.

The Asian Games is an under-23 event and the Palestinian full national side will play Japan again in the first match of the Asian Cup in January. Coach Abdalnasser Barakat said he was not demoralised by this defeat.

"We have many professional players in the first team so that game will be different than this," he said. "Most of the players here don't have the experience of such games." China's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals shrank in the 33rd minute when defender Ting Yang was ordered off for a scything foul.

Soon after the second half started, Charyl Chappuis brilliantly backheeled the ball in the penalty area and Kraisorn smashed the ball past Fang Jingqi in China's goal.

In the 76th minute, Feng saved Chanathip Songkrasin's shot and Kraisorn was on hand to hit home the rebound.

China, despite dominating the Asian Games for decades, have never won the football tournament despite pouring huge resources into the team.

Kyrgyzstan fought hard to keep Jordan out for 90 minutes, but goals from Ahmad Alessawi and substitute Ahmad Almardi in the first half of extra time broke the resistance of the Central Asian side. 

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