Late, late drama on the Asian Cup noticed favourites Japan knocked out by Iran deep into stoppage time, that means Wataru Endo will now journey again to Liverpool.
Heading into the match in Qatar, Japan had been broadly considered as favourites to win the Asian Cup outright.
After ending second behind Iraq in Group D, Hajime Moriyasu’s facet overcame Bahrain within the final 16 to arrange a quarter-final towards Iran.
However after taking the lead within the tie on Saturday by way of midfielder Hidemasa Morita, Japan went on to endure a second-half collapse and exit early.
Iran equalised quickly after the break by way of Mohammad Mohebi, occurring to dominate play with 17 photographs to Japan’s eight, and 4 heading in the right direction to 2.
The quarter-final trailing to further time when Liverpool centre-back goal Ko Itakura fouled Hossein Kanaani within the field and, after a protracted VAR overview, Iran had been awarded a penalty.
Ex-Brighton attacking midfielder Alireza Jahanbakhsh put the spot-kick away within the sixth minute of stoppage time, knocking Japan out.
Iran go on to play both hosts Qatar or Uzbekistan within the semi-finals on February 7, whereas Japan will as an alternative head house.
Which means Endo will rejoin his Liverpool team-mates on the AXA Coaching Centre subsequent week, and will come again into competition for the go to of Burnley within the Premier League on February 10.
There might be apparent disappointment for the 30-year-old, who performed each minute of all 5 video games as captain for Japan, however it may be seen as a constructive for these on Merseyside.
In Endo’s absence, although, the fit-again Alexis Mac Allister has reclaimed his beginning spot as No. 6 and produced a wonderful run of type.
It’s probably that Endo will take a spot on the bench on his return, with fierce competitors for locations now with the restoration of Thiago, who is also within the squad towards Burnley.
There’s a probability that Mohamed Salah can also be match for that conflict at Anfield, leaving solely Joel Matip (ACL), Stefan Bajcetic (calf) and Ben Doak (MCL) on the absentee record.