After an exciting month of action, the Asian Cup Final is now upon us. It features two very impressive sides, both of whom have won every match to reach this stage. Whilst it’s no surprise to see Japan reach this stage, punters were undoubtedly somewhat surprised to see Qatar here over more fancied opponents like Iran, South Korea, or even the Socceroos. The odds appear relatively even matched for this one, indicative of the respective quality these two sides possess. Let’s take a look at how both of these sides reached the Final and provide our 3 best bets for the game itself.
Japan make their way to the Final off the back of a very impressive campaign that has seen them win all 6 of their games so far. The most impressive of these was undoubtedly the match against Iran last time out, where they controlled the game and won 3-0. Their defence has been particularly solid of late, having not conceded in any of their knockout matches. Forward Yuka Osako has been the main danger man up front, scoring 4 of the 11 Japanese goals so far. If the front 3 can maintain their strong form and central defence can keep things tight at the back, Japan look solid value at $2.05.
The main surprise packet of the tournament, the Qataris enter this Asian Cup Final having also won all 6 of their matches so far. Their Semi-Final win was just as impressive as Japan’s, comfortably defeating hosts UAE 4-0. Perhaps the most impressive thing about their run so far has been their excellent defence, having not conceded all tournament. 16 goals scored is also exceptional at this point, however 10 of these were scored in routs against North Korea and the UAE. Almoez Ali has been the real danger man up front, leading the tournament with a whopping 8 goals so far.
Japan to Win $2.05
Ultimately, I think Japan are the better team in this one. Their defence has been very strong lately and should prove too much for a Qatari attack that has been a bit of a flat track bully. Whilst the Qatar defence is yet to concede this tournament, they haven’t come up against a side with the attacking quality of Japan. Given their immense talent upfront, I’m confident Japan will create enough scoring opportunities to emerge victorious at $2.05.
Correct Score: 1-0 at $5.25
Given how these two sides have played of late, I feel as though 1-0 is the most likely scoreline in this one. It will likely be a cagey affair early on, with both sides feeling each other out and minimizing risks. In the second half, we should see a few more opportunities, which ultimately lead to the winning goal. At this point, I see Japan’s defence being too much for the untested Qatari attack.
First Goal scorer: Doan at $6.25
For the first goal scorer market, attacking midfielder Ritsu Doan looks great value at $6.25. He has already scored twice this tournament and importantly also finds himself as the first-choice penalty taker. His pace and skill on the ball make him the key offensive playmaker for Japan and I can see him breaking the deadlock in this one.