In two contrasting games of football in the quarter-final stage of the AFC U16 Championship on Sunday, Iran smashed Vietnam 5-0 while Japan pipped the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 1-0.
Iran 5-0 Vietnam
Allahyar Sayyad was the star of the show for Iran at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as he bagged a brace against a shambolic Vietnamese defence.
The pick of his brace was a smart header in the 29th minute of play that came about after Ahmad Jalali picked up the ball on the left and delivered an inch-perfect cross towards Sayyad, who moved brilliantly to get in between two defenders and head home his second goal of the tournament from six yards out.
Mohammad Ghaderi, Alireza Asadabadi and Amir Khodamoradi also got on the score sheet.
All in all, it was a dominant performance and Iran will head into the semi-finals, where they will either play Oman or North Korea, full of confidence.
Japan 1-0 UAE
Japan progressed to the semi-finals however it was in very different fashion to how Iran achieved the same feat.
They were made to work extremely hard against a determined UAE outfit who were extremely well organised on the day.
In a cagey affair, it was only an Ayumu Seko goal before half-time that was the difference between the two sides. It came about as a result of sloppy glove work from Salem Al Hareth as he fumbled a Takefusa Kubo’s in-swinging corner and centre-back Seko stabbed home.
While the Japanese group will be exhausted from their efforts, they will also be battle-hardened for their semi-final and that might play in their favour.
They will lock horns with the winner of the quarter-final encounter between Uzbekistan and Iraq.