Japan beat Bahrain 3-1 to ease into Asian Cup quarter-finals

Four-times champions Japan eased into the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup with a clinical 3-1 victory over Bahrain on Wednesday at Al Thumama Stadium with goals from Ritsu Doan, Takefusa Kubo and Ayase Ueda.

Bahrain coach Juan Antonio Pizzi had been looking to heal old wounds after his Saudi Arabia team lost to Japan at the same stage in 2019 but Hajime Moriyasu's side put in a commanding performance and rarely looked troubled against the Gulf nation.

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Japan took the lead in the 31st minute when Seiya Maikuma unleashed a venomous strike that crashed off the post but midfielder Doan was alert to pounce on the rebound to score from close range.

Japan went 2-0 up just after halftime through a stroke of good fortune when an unmarked Kubo received the ball inside the box, turned and fired home, with the goal being awarded after a VAR check for an offside call.

Bahrain halved the deficit from a corner when Japan keeper Zion Suzuki saved Sayed Baqer's header but as he attempted to catch the ball when it looped up in the air, Ueda tried to head it clear and they collided as the ball went over the line.

However, Ueda made amends for the own goal when he made it 3-1 after quickly evading three Bahrain defenders and as they tried to stop him racing away by pulling his shirt, the striker pulled the trigger from a tight angle to beat the keeper.

Japan will face the winner of the final last-16 tie between Iran and Syria later on Wednesday. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Doha; Editing by Christian Radnedge)