Dubai: The UAE have made it through to the quarter-finals of the Asian Games football tournament, defeating hosts Indonesia 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in regulation and extra-time.
Indonesia twice came from behind during the match to take the game to spot kicks, but the UAE prevailed in the end.
Zayed Al Ameri was the star of the show for Maciej Skorza’s side as he opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 20 minutes after the referee penalised the home defence for a tackle during a promising Emirati attack.
The score stayed the same until half-time, but the pep-talk by Indonesia coach Luis Milla in the dressing room seemed to do the trick as the home side were level minutes after the second half got under way, with Brazilian-born veteran Beto slotting home past goalkeeper Mohammad Al Shamsi.
The UAE stood strong in the face of waves of Indonesian attacks and retook the lead when Al Ameri kept a cool head to chip home his second penalty of the afternoon past the helpless Indonesia keeper.
Just when it looked like the UAE were safely home, Stefano Lilipaly struck in the 94th minute to take the gamer to extra time.
There was no breakthrough for either side in the additional 30 minutes and the UAE triumphed from 12 yards when the Indonesians missed two of their penalties.
The result meant the UAE are into the last eight alongside Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Syria, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
Skorza’s men next face Bangladesh or North Korea on Monday for a place in the semi-finals.
Saudi Arabia stunned China 4-3 in their last-16 clash to progress.
Haroune Camara struck a hat-trick and Saad Al Selouli also got on the scoresheet as the Saudis were cruising 4-0 with only 10 minutes to go.
However, China mounted an impressive fightback, with Yao Junsheng, Huang Zichang, and Wei Shihao pulling the score back to 4-3 before they ran out of time while pushing for an equaliser.
Son Heung-min said South Korea had “more belief” than Iran as they safely reached the quarters, taking him a step closer to the gold that would spare him a career-threatening stint in military service.
Son captained the defending champions to a 2-0 win in a physical game in Cikarang, near Jakarta, to set up another daunting clash with a highly rated Uzbekistan side.
Nothing less than gold at the regional Olympics will be enough to exempt Tottenham Hotspur forward Son, 26, from his 21-month compulsory military service — which could derail his career.
Son, the Asian record-holder for Premier League goals, admitted his side had felt the pressure of the last-16 knockout tie, but said he was “very proud” of his teammates.
“I think we were strong but Iran was also strong as a team,” said Son. “It’s important to be mentally strong. The pressure was there but I think we had more belief than Iran.”
South Korea’s next opponents, Uzbekistan, who breezed past Hong Kong 3-0, have yet to concede in the tournament.