Japan, Iran win at Asian Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Defending champion Japan and former three-time winner Iran both won at the Asian Cup.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Defending champion Japan and former three-time winner Iran both won at the Asian Cup while Qatar fired coach Philippe Troussier two days after the Gulf state was beaten by Indonesia in its opening game. Iran scored three times in the final 20 minutes yesterday, capped off by Ali Daei's 95th career goal on an 87th-minute penalty, and beat Thailand 3-0. Shunsuke Nakamura scored the only goal in the 33rd minute and two-time and defending champion Japan staved off a late push by Oman to win 1-0. Coach fired Troussier said he was "bitterly disappointed and really surprised" when told of his dismissal yesterday morning. "I never thought I would leave at this point after all the hard work I have put in," said Troussier, who led Japan to the Asian Cup title and into the second round of the World Cup two years ago. "I planned to continue to the end of the tournament with ambition and with determination." Mixed bag The 49-year-old Troussier, nicknamed the "White Witch Doctor" during earlier coaching stints with Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and South Africa, has had mixed results since taking over Oman just over a year ago. The team suffered consecutive losses to Jordan and Iran earlier this year in World Cup qualifying and midway through Asian qualifying is third in its four-team group. He will be replaced by Saeid Al Misnad, who led Qatar's under-17 team to the quarterfinals of the U17 World Championship three times. "We respect Troussier, he is one of the best coaches to have worked in Asia," said Fahd Al Quwairi, a member of Qatar's delegation to the Cup.(AP)

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