Ahmed Khalil of the United Arab Emirates (11) celebrates a goal with teammates against Japan during a 2018 World Cup Russia qualifier soccer match at Saitama Stadium in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
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Ahmed Khalil scored twice as United Arab Emirates punished Japan for missing a host of chances by winning 2-1 at the Saitama Stadium in the third round of Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup Thursday.The Emiratis, who beat the Blue Samurais in last year's Asian Cup quarter-finals in a penalty shootout, equalized nine minutes later when Khalil, the Asian player of the year, netted.Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa could only tip Khalil's curling 25-metre free kick into the top corner.Former Manchester United player Shinji Kagawa should have given Japan the lead in the 26th minute but shot wide from a rebound after UAE goalkeeper Khalid Eisa had saved Honda's header.
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