Ref's error haunts Japan as China slip
JAPAN were left to rue a refereeing howler as they crashed to a 2-1 home defeat to United Arab Emirates in a woeful start to their World Cup qualifying final round yesterday.
AC Milan's Keisuke Honda nodded the hosts in front in Saitama but UAE grabbed all the points after Ahmed Khalil's sumptuous free kick and penalty either side of half-time.
Japan should have finished the game 2-2 but the officials failed to spot that Takuma Asano's shot, clawed away by Khalid Eisa, had crossed the line, as shown by TV replays.
Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim waved away Japan's protests as the Blue Samurai crashed once again to UAE, their conquerors in last year's Asian Cup quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, South Korea beat China 3-2 in their opening game of the World Cup qualifying final round in Seoul yesterday.