Vietnam, Indonesia stumble, Japan win big ahead of Asian Cup

By Staff reporters   January 9, 2024 | 08:46 pm PT
Japan thrashed Jordan 6-1, Vietnam lost 1-2 to Kyrgyzstan, while Indonesia suffered a heavy 0-5 defeat against Iran in exhibition matches ahead of Asian Cup on Tuesday.

Japan got their fourth consecutive win with a five-goal margin, after victories against Myanmar, Syria and Thailand. This also marked their 10th victory in a row, despite facing strong opponents like Germany and Tunisia.

Jordan are 87th on world ranking, 70 places behind Japan, and the score also showed the level gap between the two teams. Japan led Jordan by six goals and the East Asia team only got one back at the end of the game.

Aside from Jordan's own goal, the five scorers for Japan were Ko Itakura, Keito Nakamura, Takumi Minamino, Takuma Asano and Daizen Maeda.

Just like the Japan-Jordan game, Vietnam also played Kyrgyzstan behind closed doors on Tuesday, their final friendly game before playing Japan in the Asian Cup opener on Jan. 14.

Coach Philippe Troussier used 29 players in this game to test different formations and tactics.

Vietnam midfielder Khuat Van Khang (number 22) tries to stop a Kyrgyzstan player in the exhibition match on Jan. 9, 2023. Photo by Kyrgyz Football Union

Vietnam midfielder Khuat Van Khang (number 22) tries to stop a Kyrgyzstan player in an exhibition match in Qatar on Jan. 9, 2023. Photo by Kyrgyz Football Union

Vietnam ranked 94th on world ranking, four places higher than Kyrgyzstan. Before meeting Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan played three matches, losing 1-4 to Uzbekistan, 0-1 to the UAE and drawing 1-1 to Syria.

Kyrgyzstan took the lead in the 31st minute, thanks to striker Joel Kojo. In the 63rd minute, winger Truong Tien Anh equalized 1-1 for Vietnam. But 11 minutes later, defender Ayzar Akmatov scored to secure the 2-1 win for Kyrgyzstan.

For Indonesia, they put a defensive formation up against Iran but still crumbled easily. Iran found the net right in the 2nd minute with a goal from Saman Ghoddos.

After the early goal, Iran took full control of the game and there was nothing Indonesia could do.

In the 21st and 35th minutes, midfielder Rouzbeh Cheshmi and striker Shahriyar Moghanlou scored and decided the fate of the match.

Midway through the first half, Iran’s Seyed Hosseini had to leave the field due to injury. However, to test the team's ability to play with 10 men, coach Amir Ghalenoei did not put on a substitution until the end of the first half.

After the break, Iran replaced their entire lineup but Indonesia still could not do much. Winger Mehdi Ghayedi scored twice in the 70th and 87th minutes to secure a 5-0 victory for Iran.

This was Iran's 13th consecutive unbeaten match since last year (11 wins and two draws). Meanwhile, Indonesia received their third consecutive defeat, losing 0-4 and 1-2 in two friendlies with Libya.

At the 2024 Asian Cup that began on Jan. 12, Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia are in the same group. Vietnam will play Japan first before facing Indonesia on the 19th, while Japan will play Indonesia on the 24th.

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