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S. Korea, Iran Reach Asian Cup Football Finals


The football teams from Iran and South Korea have reached the Asian Cup finals.

Iran clinched a berth from Group A by defeating host Taiwan, 2-0, thanks to two goals from Bayern Munich star Ali Karimi. South Korea was in the same group and qualified by scoring a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Syria.

The Koreans got on top early with a goal by Choe Jae-jin in the ninth minute. The Syrians tied it 10 minutes later.

The Koreans and Iran still have a group match left against one another, but it will only decide which team tops the group.

Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia and United Arab Emirates have already qualified for the Asian Cup finals which will be jointly hosted by Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia next July. The co-hosts went through automatically.

In other games Wednesday, Australia defeated Bahrain, 2-0, to finish first atop Group D and secure a seeding for the Asian Cup. Bahrain used its under-23 team, resting its regulars for a key match against Kuwait next month.

Uzbekistan trounced Bangladesh, 4-0, to strengthen its claim to second place ahead of Hong Kong in Group F. Qatar beat Hong Kong, 2-0.

Japan was a 3-0 winner over India. Oman beat United Arab Emirates, 2-1. Jordan downed Pakistan, 3-0. Iraq topped Singapore, 4-2.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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