Football: Japan reach Asian Cup last 8 with 3-1 win over Bahrain

Japan booked their place in the Asian Cup quarterfinals in Qatar with a 3-1 win over Bahrain on Wednesday.

World Cup standout Ritsu Doan and Real Sociedad star Takefusa Kubo scored for the Samurai Blue before a mix-up between goalkeeper Zion Suzuki and striker Ayase Ueda led to an own goal that momentarily gave life to Bahrain.

Golden boot candidate Ueda made amends, however, with his fourth goal of the tournament to complete a dominant victory by the record four-time Asian champions at Doha's Al Thumama Stadium.

The round-of-16 win may have come at a cost, however, for Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu, who lost Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate to an apparent leg injury in the first half.

Brighton & Hove Albion winger Kaoru Mitoma made his first appearance of the tournament, coming off the bench in the second half after missing all three group-stage games with an ankle injury.

Bahrain goalkeeper Ebrahim Lutfallah was forced into an early save when Ko Itakura headed on target from a corner kick.

The Samurai Blue converted their overwhelming possession into the opening goal when Doan tapped home after Seiya Maikuma blasted the woodwork with a long-range effort in the 31st minute.

Itakura went close with another header before Kubo poached Japan's second in 49th minute, when a misdirected touch from the Bahrain defense played him onside directly in front of goal.

While they progressed to the next stage with little trouble, Japan's shaky set-piece defense saw them once again unable to keep a clean sheet.

Defending a rare Bahrain corner, Suzuki failed to punch away convincingly before he and Ueda collided on the goal line, sending the ball spilling into the net in the 64th minute.

Feyenoord striker Ueda restored Japan's two-goal buffer eight minutes later, finishing calmly from the right of the area with an assist from Maikuma.

© Kyodo News