Abu Dhabi: Japan qualified for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 knockout phase on Sunday as Genki Haraguchi’s first-half penalty helped the Samurai Blue seal a narrow 1-0 win over Oman. Japan's hard-fought victory saw Hajime Moriyasu’s charges record their second win of the campaign and guarantee the four-time champions of Asia a place in the Round of 16 alongside Uzbekistan who beat Turkmenistan to go top of Group F.
The result also meant Japan – excluding penalty shoot-outs – extended their record of only losing once in their last 30 games at the AFC Asian Cup Finals since being beaten by Saudi Arabia in the 2007 semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Oman must now beat Turkmenistan in their final group stage fixture to retain any hope of qualifying for the next round as one of the best third-place finishers.
Having struggled to overcome Turkmenistan on Matchday One, Japan were quickly into their stride at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, Genki Haraguchi diverting Ritsu Doan’s cross onto the bar from six yards inside the first two minutes.
Moments later, and with Japan in the ascendancy, Oman goalkeeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi was forced into a fine sprawling save when Takumi Minamino seemed destined to score, before Minamino then dragged a shot wide of the far post when put through by a raking Takumi Minamino pass.
Oman duly responded by spurning a golden chance of their own on 20 minutes, Salaah Al Yahyaei finding Muhsen Al Ghassani who rounded Shuichi Gonda but was unable to finish from a tight angle.