Abu Dhabi: The Continent’s top teams went head-to-head in friendly matches as preparations for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 intensified with Asia’s biggest and most anticipated football competition starting in four days. As the countdown begins before the curtains are raised at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, the 24 teams are putting in the finishing touches in their bid for Asia’s ultimate prize.
Qatar have been the busiest team in recent weeks and have showed great ambitions in lifting their first-ever AFC Asian Cup with a convincing 2-0 victory over Jordan and a 1-0 win over AFC Asian Cup debutants Kyrgyz Republic.
However, the West Asian side’s undefeated streak since their win over Switzerland in November came to an end with double losses against Algeria 1-0 and three-time AFC Asian Cup champions Islamic Republic of Iran 2-1.
The host nation United Arab Emirates will return to the drawing board following a surprise 2-0 defeat to Kuwait. UAE will kickstart their campaign in the opening match against Bahrain on January 5 in Group A.
Turkmenistan defeated Afghanistan 2-0 in their final friendly before facing four-time AFC Asian Cup champions Japan in their opening match in Group F. Uzbekistan and Oman are also drawn in the same group.
Iraq secured a morale boosting 2-1 win over China PR and continued their winning ways with a 1-0 triumph against Palestine, who in earlier friendlies held IR Iran to a 1-1 draw and defeated Pakistan 2-0.