Palestine v Australia

Reigning champions Australia encountered a massive disappointment in their opener in this competition. Unquestionably one of the best teams in the competition this season, no one certainly expected that Jordan, who are currently ranked at the 109th spot, would make such a huge impact in the competition by winning against Australia. On Friday, Australia will be looking forward to regain their momentum as they take on Palestine on matchday 2 for their Asian Cup clash.

Palestine are still looking forward in scoring their first goal in the competition. Their last fixture concluded goalless and had a hard time registering even one shot on the goal. After they made their Asian Cup debut in the 2015 season, they will be coming into this match hoping to improve on their performance. As of now, Palestine only have a point on the board after a goalless draw during the first round of matches against Syria despite being reduced to ten men in the second half of the game. Palestine aren’t really a threat for a team like Australia but they made themselves quite challenging to beat after their match with Syria.

Australia, on the other hand, gave everything they have except score against Jordan on Sunday. This setback might lead to a change in their starting roster for Friday’s match. Moreover, Australia have a series of defensive record with three clean sheets in their previous five international fixtures against the likes of Lebanon, Oman, and Kuwait, with all those matches ending in triumph for Australia. With this, Australia will head into Friday’s fixture as the heavy favourites after bagging three victories, one draw, and one defeat from their previous five games.

Palestine, who are currently at the 99th spot in the world, will not be much of a challenge if the reigning champions managed to play with attention and heavy groundwork. However, unexpected events happen as proven by Australia’s loss to Jordan.

Philippines v China

The Philippines kicked-off Group C with a 1-0 loss to Korea Republic. On January 11, they will take on China for their Asian Cup clash. China will head into this game as the heavy favourites to come out as winner. The Philippines, meanwhile, were never really expected to qualify from the group stage fixtures, but a point over China and a victory in their final match could be enough for the underdogs to push through.

On Friday, China will be looking forward to progressing to the next round as the group champions and as of now, South Korea seems to be the only side that has the capability to mount China to a challenge. China will take this fixture as a chance for them to increase their goal-scoring record and goal difference which may come in handy after the end of the group stage fixtures. With two victories, three draws, and one defeat, China will more likely come out as triumphant on Friday as compared to the Philippines’ four losses and two draws.

Philippines, on the other hand, would be looking to make an impact in the world of football as they make their Asian Cup debut. Philippines did their best to produce even a single point from Friday’s opponents in the first match of the tournament. However, during their matchday 1 fixture with South Korea, the Taeguk Warriors had to work really hard in order to break down Philippines’ determined defence which also took them 67 minutes do break through.

It’s seems likely that China will be the one to come out victorious in this match considering their level of performance and experience in this kinds of competitions. When these two sides last met in 2017, China came out as the comfortable winners of an upsetting 8-1 thrashing.

Kyrgyzstan v Korea Republic

After their defeat to China, Kyrgyzstan will really need to score at least one point on Friday’s game against Korea republic in order to stand a chance in making it to the top two in the Group C standings and qualify for the knockout stages. Korea Republic currently have three points on the board but weren’t entirely impressive during their match against the Philippines, winning only be one goal. Kyrgyzstan and Korea Republic have never played against each other until now.

Kyrgyzstan gave China quite a tough challenge on Monday, but have been eventually defeated in an upsetting 2-1 score and due to the difference in quality between these two countries. Kyrgyzstan were leading during the half time and despite losing to China, the team will surely be high in confidence following their impressive performance on Monday when they come into Friday’s fixture.

With three wins and three draws from their previous six international fixtures, Korea Republic will head into this game as the obvious favourites due to their form.  Korea recorded multiple wins against the likes of the Philippines, Uruguay, and Uzbekistan, but could only hold a draw with Panama, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. However, after their tough contest against the Philippines, Korea are surely not that pleased with themselves after managing a victory just by one goal. The Taeguk Warriors will most definitely be looking forward to make up for that quite satisfactory match on Friday.

By @EliaasMJ

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