Japan, Thailand advance to Cup finals

Japan and Thailand are both through to the finals of their respective friendly knock-out competitions after wins over Bulgaria and Syria respectively.

Japan 7-2 Bulgaria

Japan were massive 7-2 winners over Bulgaria in their opening fixture of the four-team Kirin Cup tournament on Friday.

The result sends them straight into the final to take on Bosnia & Herzegovina, who beat Denmark on penalties after playing out to a 2-2 draw.

AFC International Player of the Year Shinji Kagawa bagged a brace in the first half, Maya Yoshida found the target twice and Shinji Okazaki, Takashi Usami, and Takuma Asano all got their names on the scoresheet as well.

The first six goals went unanswered, before a rally from the Bulgarians saw them score two late goals.

Asono had the last say for Japan, however, scoring their seventh three minutes from time.

Thailand 3-2 (2-2) Syria

It was left to penalties to decide Thailand’s fate at the four-team Kings Cup, and the hosts didn’t disappoint their local fans, winning the shoot-out 3-2 to advance to the final against Jordan, who beat United Arab Emirates 3-1 earlier in the day.

Teerasil Dangda and Mongkol Tossakai gave Thailand a commanding 2-0 lead at the break, but second-half goals from Mahmoud Al Mawas and Abdul-Fattah Al Agha saw the Syrians draw level.

The penalty shoot-out went right down to the wire, but in the end it was the Syrians who made the crucial miss, handing the home side a 7-6 victory.

Myanmar 0-1 Singapore

New head coach V. Sundramoorthy got off to a winning start as Singapore beat Myanmar by a solitary goal to reach the final of the AYA Bank Cup in Yangon.

Faris Ramli’s first-half strike sealed the victory, but Myanmar caused their opponents plenty of problems, and the result was far from a convincing one.

Vietnam 3-2 (2-2) Hong Kong

Vietnam booked their place in the final of the AYA Bank Cup to face Singapore after beating Hong Kong 4-3 penalties in another close contest.

All four goals came in the second half courtesy of two players, with Vietnam’s Le Cong Vinh and Hong Kong’s Jaimes McKee both scoring braces for their respective countries.

Ngue Paul Olivier was the unlucky Hong Kong player who missed his penalty effort in the shoot-out.