THE final two Asian Cup quarter-finals take place on Friday morning. What’s Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) backing?
Iran v Iraq | Friday 06.30
Friday morning’s Asian Cup action sees Iraq take on Iran in a match of huge significance to both sides. The old rivals have a fierce history and there’s plenty at stake.
Iran have been made slight favourites at 4/5 (William Hill) to win inside 90 minutes and it’s hard not to like Carlos Quieroz’s side. The Persians look perfectly set-up for knockout football and came through a tricky Group C unscathed and without a goal against.
That being said, they were the cosh in their final fixture with UAE. They managed just five shots with only three of those on-target. The Emirati fired in eight and boasted the bulk of possession, however they only forced one save. They were made to pay in stoppage-time when Reza Ghoochannejhad struck to give Iran all three points.
The Persians should have the better of an Iraqi side who’ve failed to really find their feet in the tournament. Expected victories over Jordan and Palestine saw the war-torn nation cruise into second place but they now face a big step up in class.
Radhi Shenaishil's side believe their performance against Palestine was their best yet but previous meetings have all gone the way of their fierce rivals including a friendly before the continental championships, with the Persians prevailing 1-0.
It’s five wins from six for Iran when faced with Iraq and at 4/5, I’m happy to invest face in Quieroz’s men doing the business inside 90 minutes.
Japan v United Arab Emirates | Friday 09.30
Tournament favourites Japan face UAE in the last of the Asian Cup quarter-finals and we should be in for a treat. UAE have an abundance of attacking potential and could well give the Blue Samurai a much sterner examination than most may believe.
The White failed to notch against Iran in their final Group C game but they put the Persians under fierce pressure in a number of sustained attacks on the opposition goal. It’s difficult to see them upsetting the odds and defeating the Japanese but they’re more than capable of scoring.
Mahdi Ali’s UAE side can rely on one of the most exciting talents of the 2015 Asian Cup, with Omar Abdulrahman having shone as The White’s chief playmaker. I’m not 100% confident they will notch, mind. Japan have tightened up under Javier Aguirre but they’re yet to be tested in the competition and could be caught out by the inventive and technically adept underdogs.
With that in mind, a recommended play on Over 2/2.5 Goals on the Asian Goals line looks just the ticket at 4/5 with BetVictor. Making this play means we’ll have a winning bet should three goals or more be scored but only lose half our stake if exactly two goals are netted.
The bet offers a touch of insurance should Japan put in a professional performance and progress with a 2-0 victory. They’re yet to break sweat and are understandably very strong favourites to see the game out inside 90 minutes.
Saying that, it would be a huge disappointment should the fixture not produce goals, as expected.
Iran v Iraq – Iran to win (4/5 William Hill)
Japan v UAE – Over 2/2.5 Goals (4/5 BetVictor)