Japan are facing Saudi Arabia on the second matchday of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship at the Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit, Thailand on Thursday.
Hosts Thailand, Bahrain, Australia and Iraq make up Group A of the tournament while 2018 AFC U23 Championship finalists Vietnam are in Group D with DPR Korea, Jordan and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Group B of the continental competition consists of Qatar, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Syria while Group C features defending champions Uzbekistan, Korea Republic, China PR and IR Iran.
Top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stages of the fourth edition of the continental tournament. The semifinals will be played on January 22 while the final will take place at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on January 26.
Uzbekistan are the defending champions of the continental competition having defeated ASEAN side Vietnam 2-1 in extra time during the final of the 2018 edition held in China. Iraq and Japan have also won the previous editions of the tournament which began in 2013.
Japan vs Saudi Arabia in Group B of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship will kick off at 9.15 PM HKT. You can follow all the LIVE updates from this AFC U23 Championship match via our Matchday Blog right here!
Hello and welcome to the LIVE coverage of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020. We have Japan taking on Saudi Arabia in their opening match of the competition and the kick off is at 9.15 PM HKT.
Japan Starting 11: Keisuke Osako (Goalkeeper), Taiyo Koga, Daiki Hashioka, Daiki Sugioka, Tsuyoshi Watanabe, Shunta Tanaka, Ao Tanaka, Ryotaro Meshino, Makoto Okazaki, Reo Hatate, Koki Ogawa
Saudi Arabia Starting 11: Mohammed Al Yami (Goalkeeper), Abdulbaset Al-Hindi, Hassan Al Tambakti, Abdulelah Alamri,Khalid Dubaysh, Ayman Al-Khulaif, Abdulrahman Ghareeb, Nasser Al Omran, Saud Abdulhamid, Abdullah Al-Hamdan, Mukhtar Ali
1′ – KICK OFF!
7′ – Chelsea academy graduate Mukhtar Ali goes close with a strike from the distance for Saudi Arabia.
25′ – Japan have grown into the game following Saudi dominance in the early exchanges. But there is nothing to separate the two sides yet.
30′ – Brilliant save from Japan goalkeeper Keisuke Osako after Abdulrahman Ghareeb gets inside the box and curls one in which takes a deflection on the way, but Osako gets a fingertip to it to tip it over the goal!
37′ – Chance wasted! Japan attacker Reo Hatate is through on goal and just has the goalkeeper to beat, but the forward tries to take the ball past the keeper but rolls the ball out for a goalkick with a heavy touch!
45′ – Two minutes added on!
HALF TIME: JAPAN 0-0 SAUDI ARABIA!
Both sides have had chances to take the lead here, but it remains goalless at the halfway stage in this AFC U23 Championship 2020 Group B encounter.
46′ – SECOND HALF BEGINS!
48′ – GOAL! Japan 0-1 SAUDI ARABIA!
Ayman Al-Khulaif has given Saudi Arabia the lead against Japan here just a couple of minutes into the second half. Can Japan strike back now?
56′ – GOAL! JAPAN 1-1 Saudi Arabia!
EQUALISER! And Japan have struck back through Ryotaro Meshino whose deflected effort wrong-foots Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al Yami! 1-1! Game on!
80′ – 10 minutes left. Still deadlocked here!
85′ – Penalty for Saudi Arabia after Japan goalkeeper Keisuke Osako brings down Saudi attacker Feras Al-Birakan inside the box!
86′ – Referee has a consultation with the VAR, watches the replay of the incident and decides it is a penalty!
88′ – GOAL! Japan 1-2 SAUDI ARABIA!
Abdulrahman Ghareeb converts the penalty to give Saudi Arabia a precious 2-1 lead with barely any time left on the clock!
90′ – Four minutes added on!
FULL TIME: JAPAN 1-2 SAUDI ARABIA!
Saudi Arabia take all three points against Hajime Moriyasu’s Japan in their 2020 AFC U23 Championship opener, thanks to a late penalty converted by Abdulrahman Ghareeb.