Monday, October 29, 2012

29 October 2000 - History Repeats Itself In The Asian Cup

On 29 October 2000, Japan won their second Asian Cup, beating Saudi Arabia in a rematch of the 1992 final.

Saudi Arabia were the defending champions, having won the 1996 tournament in the United Arab Emirates. They stumbled in their opening match, losing to Japan 1-4, but they rallied to reach the knockout rounds where they advanced with narrow wins over Kuwait and South Korea. Japan, meanwhile, won their group, then reached the final with wins over Iraq and Indonesia.

Playing before a crowd of 47,000 at Beirut's Sports City Stadium, Saudi Arabia had a chance to take an early lead with a penalty kick, bit the shot went wide. Shortly afterward, Japanese midfielder Shigeyoshi Mochizuki (pictured) scored the game's only goal in the 30th minute with a volley off a free kick. It gave his team a 1-0 victory, the same scoreline from their win over Saudi Arabia in 1992.

Japan repeated as champions in 2004 and are the current holders after winning a third cup in 2011.

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