The knockout stage of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup was the second and final stage of the competition, following the group stage. It began on 20 January with the round of 16 and ended on 1 February with the final match, held at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. A total of 16 teams (the top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-placed teams) advanced to the knockout stage to compete in a single-elimination style tournament.
In the knockout stage, if a match is level at the end of 90 minutes of normal playing time, extra time will be played (two periods of 15 minutes each). If still tied after extra time, the match will be decided by a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner. The video assistant referee (VAR) system will be used from the quarter-finals onwards. For the first time since a knockout stage was added to the competition in 1972, there will be no third place play-off.
The AFC set out the following schedule for the round of 16:
Jordan came close in the 20th minute when Musa Al-Taamari lured three defenders out of position before his back-heel pass found Feras Shelbaieh, whose cross to Yaseen Al-Bakhit saw his effort going wide. In the 35th minute, Đoàn Văn Hậu left-footed strike was parried away by Amer Shafi. Jordan took the lead in the 38th minute after Đỗ Hùng Dũng brought Salem Al-Ajalin down just outside the box, and Baha' Abdel-Rahman scored from the resultant free-kick into the top right corner of the net. Six minutes into the second half, Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng sent in a curling cross in front of the goal mouth which Nguyễn Công Phượng squeezed past the Jordanian defenders for the equaliser. Neither side managed to find a route to goal in the remaining minutes, forcing the first ever AFC Asian Cup last-16 tie to go into extra-time. Neither side was willing to take unnecessary risks in extra-time, as penalties were needed to decide the tie.
Jordan were the first to miss with Baha' Faisal striking the crossbar which was then followed by Ahmed Samir's effort saved by Vietnam goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm. Vietnam's Trần Minh Vương then failed to put the game to bed with Vietnam's fourth effort but Bùi Tiến Dũng I made no mistake as the Southeast Asians sealed their first knockout stage's win and marched into the quarter-finals.
In the 31st minute, Thitipan Puangchan’s shot ended up at Supachai Jaided’s feet who turned and scored from seven yards out to open the scoring. Yu Dabao made way for Xiao Zhi and, within three minutes, China were level as Zheng Zhi clipped his cross in from the right and Xiao scored on the rebound after Siwarak Tedsungnoen had saved the striker’s initial downward header. By the 71st minute China were in front when Gao Lin scored from the spot after having his heels clipped in the area by Tanaboon Kesarat, the forward fired high into the top corner to give his team the lead. A flying save from Yan Junling deep into injury time following Pansa Hemviboon’s shot ensured the East Asians to win their first knockout stage's match since 2004 and progressed.
Mohammed Al-Fatil sneaked in a header from the centre of the box from a set-piece situation, but the defender placed it wide of the mark. Japan came close six minutes later with Ritsu Doan finding space in the danger area after collecting Takumi Minamino’s pass but saw his effort blocked by the Saudi defence. Japan scored the opening goal in the 20th minute as Takehiro Tomiyasu rose the highest to nod the ball home. With five minutes left in the half, Hattan Bahebri muscled his way into the box, but his curling shot flew past the right post, as Japan stayed ahead going into the break. In the second half, Maya Yoshida connected with a header from Gaku Shibasaki’s delivery but Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais collected it safely. In the 73rd minute, Abdullah Otayf found Housain Al-Mogahwi lurking in the box but the midfielder sent his header high above the bar as Japan soaked up the pressure to seal their quarter-final spot.
Eldor Shomurodov’s change of pace left Trent Sainsbury flat-footed in the penalty area, only for Mathew Ryan to deny the striker’s effort when in on the Australian goal. Two minutes before the half hour, Uzbekistan went close as Javokhir Sidikov let fly from distance, the ball going narrowly wide of Ryan’s right post. In the second half, Jamie Maclaren’s blocked shot looped up for Rhyan Grant to head into the hands of Ignatiy Nesterov while the full-back was also on the end of Milos Degenek’s diagonal ball, sending his header over the bar from an acute angle. Nesterov was on hand to push away Tom Rogic’s deflected effort 10 minutes from time. With the 90 minutes finishing goalless, the game went into extra-time and Chris Ikonomidis, Mathew Leckie and Rogic all failed to break the deadlock for the defending champions, leaving the game to drift towards a shootout.
Mabkhout spurned an early chance in the second minute of the additional 30, before – just 60 seconds later – the striker was brought down in the area by Bekzhan Sagynbaev. Substitute Ahmed Khalil stepped up to convert the resulting penalty and put his side ahead yet again. Bakhtiyar Duyshobekov’s header then brushed an upright and Rustamov crashed a shot against the bar in the final seconds. However, the UAE held firm to seal their ticket through to the last eight.
Mohamed Marhoon forced Korean goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu into a dive but his effort flew wide in the fourth minute. Two minutes from the half-time whistle, Son Heung-min laid a pass to Lee Yong on the right flank, who then sent the ball into the box which was blocked by goalkeeper Sayed Shubbar Alawi, only for it to land at Hwang Hee-chan’s feet who then tapped it into the net. In the 70th minute, the Korean defenders failed to cleanly clear a corner kick, allowing Jamal Rashid to fire a shot which seemed heading into the top right corner, only for Seung-gyu to palm it out. The Korean defence was breached for the first time in the tournament when Mohamed Al Romaihi slammed the ball into the net after Hong Chul had made a last ditch clearance of Mahdi Al-Humaidan’s attempt. Hwang Ui-jo intercepted a poor back pass in added time but his attempt to curl the ball past an onrushing Alawi went wide. The tie was then subsequently forced into extra-time.
Bahrain were caught off guard when Yong sent in a cross from the right which Kim Jin-su met with a header to seal his team's place in the quarter-finals.
Qatar spurned the first opportunity of the game when Abdelkarim Hassan rattled the bar with a shot from close-range following Abdulaziz Hatem’s cross in the fourth minute. Hatem came close to connecting with Abdelkarim’s whipped delivery, only for goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb to then dive at the feet of an onrushing Mohanad Ali to repel Iraq’s opening attack of the tie. Abdelkarim’s deflected cross brushed an upright and Bassam Al-Rawi headed Akram Afif’s corner wide of the target. Qatar went ahead on 62 minutes after Al-Rawi curled home a free-kick. Moments later, Jalal Hassan spread himself well to deny Abdelkarim, before producing another fine stop to keep out a Hatem drive from distance. Ali Adnan flashed a free-kick inches past the post and then Ahmad Ibrahim's 80th minute header missed by a similarly fine margin. Qatar held firm despite late Iraqi pressure to win their first ever knockout stage's match and moved on to the next round.
Koya Kitagawa’s pass to Genki Haraguchi in the 23rd minute was slid out of play by Vietnam defender Đỗ Duy Mạnh. The resulting corner saw Haraguchi send in a curler that found Maya Yoshida, who headed the ball into the back of the net. However, VAR was called into action for the first time in the history of the AFC Asian Cup and much to Vietnam’s relief, the referee disallowed the goal as Yoshida’s header had deflected off his arm. Shūichi Gonda was forced into making his first save of the game as Phan Văn Đức came close with a 37th minute strike, before being called into action again a minute later to deny another close-range attempt from the Văn Đức. Ritsu Doan’s run was blocked by Bùi Tiến Dũng I and the referee, after referring to the VAR, awarded a penalty which the Japanese midfielder converted in the 57th minute. Substitute Nguyễn Phong Hồng Duy came close in the 73rd minute as his low drive missed the upright by mere inches.
In the 18th minute, Sardar Azmoun robbed Feng Xiaoting before squaring the ball to Mehdi Taremi who fired home to give Iran the lead. The Iranians then spurned a chance to double their advantage when Hossein Kanaanizadegan found Taremi from Ashkan Dejagah’s free-kick only to somehow miss the target from only three yards. Azmoun out-muscled Liu Yiming and rounded goalkeeper Yan Junling to score shortly after the half-hour mark. After the break, Taremi and Kanaanizadegan looped headers narrowly over the bar, before Alireza Jahanbakhsh curled an effort narrowly wide of Yan’s left-hand upright on 58 minutes. Substitute Yu Dabao missed from close-range with 10 minutes remaining leaving Karim Ansarifard to net another for Iran after yet another defensive error. The victory allowed Iran to play in the semi-finals for the first time since 2004 edition where they finished third-place.
Akram Afif brought a save out of goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu shortly after the half-hour mark. Moments later, midfielder Hwang In-beom curled a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area after Qatar had failed to adequately deal with Lee Yong’s free-kick. In the second half, Hwang Ui-jo controlled the ball before bringing a fine save out of Qatar custodian Saad Al Sheeb. Kim Jin-su grazed the outside of an upright with a free-kick, before Qatar took the lead minutes later. Gathering possession some 25 yards from goal, Abdulaziz Hatem sent the ball past Seung-gyu’s dive and into the bottom corner. Within seconds Ui-Jo had a goal ruled out by the VAR for offside, while Boualem Khoukhi’s overhead kick was repelled by Seung-gyu. Late and intense South Korea pressure failed to find the equaliser, leaving Qatar to progress to the next round.
Mathew Ryan denied the hosts at the 20 minute mark when Ismail Al Hammadi stepped inside Trent Sainsbury to fire off an effort that the Socceroos keeper pushed away. With five minutes left in the half, Apostolos Giannou's shot on goal was swatted clear by Khalid Eisa. At the other end, Ali Mabkhout headed over from close range. In the second half, Giannou had the ball in the net following the introduction of Mathew Leckie for Jamie Maclaren, but his effort was ruled out for offside. In the 68th minute, Mabkhout put the UAE ahead with their first opening of the second period, the forward stepped in to intercept Milos Degenek’s backpass before rounding Ryan to score. Australia attempted to claw back an equaliser but the Socceroos came up short to end their reign as Asian champions.
Yuya Osako’s ball found space behind Alireza Jahanbakhsh and the advancing Yuto Nagatomo sent in a low cross that Takumi Minamino steered wide. Maya Yoshida headed wide from Gaku Shibasaki’s corner while Ritsu Doan dragged his attempt just wide of goal. In the opening minutes of the second half, Ashkan Dejagah and Ehsan Hajsafi both saw their attempts miss the target. Moments later, Hossein Kanaanizadegan turned to protest to the referee following a collision with Minamino and, while the official ignored the Iranian pleas, Minamino sent in a cross which was headed home by Osako. Jahanbakhsh almost restored parity five minutes later, only for Shūichi Gonda to tip his free-kick over the bar while Morteza Pouraliganji headed just off target moments later. Minamino's pass into the centre struck the sliding Pouraliganji on the arm. The resulting penalty saw Osako send Alireza Beiranvand the wrong way to double Japan's lead. In added time, Genki Haraguchi added the third with a burst through the defence before smashing his shot past Beiranvand to confirm Japan’s progress to the final.
Qatar took the lead at the 22nd minute, Boualem Khoukhi’s angled drive from 18 yards found its way under Khalid Eisa’s dive and into the net. The UAE responded through an Ismail Al Hammadi header which was saved by Saad Al Sheeb, and a similar effort from Ali Mabkhout that fizzed wide of the target shortly before the half-hour mark. Qatar doubled their lead in the 38th minute. Akram Afif found Almoez Ali who advanced into the area before firing home via a post to equal Ali Daei’s record for the most goals by a player at Asia’s premier event. Shortly after, Al Sheeb was on hand to deny Ahmed Khalil. Qatar added a third in the 81st minute when captain Hassan Al-Haydos manoeuvred past Bandar Al-Ahbabi and clipped the ball over Eisa. After the UAE’s Ismail Ahmed was shown a straight red card late on for dangerous play, substitute Hamid Ismail rounded off the scoring to confirm Qatar's place in the final.
Japan began the match with two set piece chances, but neither was able to provide a scoring chance. Qatar's Almoez Ali opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a bicycle kick from 15 yards (14 m) after juggling a ball received from Akram Afif. With his ninth goal of the tournament, Ali took the record for most goals scored during an Asian Cup that was previously held by Iranian Ali Daei.Abdulaziz Hatem scored Qatar's next goal in the 27th minute, shooting from 25 yards (75 ft) past Japanese goalkeeper Shūichi Gonda towards the top corner.
Japan regained possession and found several scoring chances before and after halftime, including a missed header from Yoshinori Muto and several corner kicks, but were unable to produce a shot on goal. Qatar received an early chance to score their third goal in the 56th minute on a counterattack, but the shot by Hatem went over the crossbar. The lead was cut to 2–1 with a 69th-minute goal from close range by Takumi Minamino—the first to be conceded by Qatar during the tournament. Qatar were awarded a penalty kick in the 82nd minute by the video assistant referee for a handball by Japanese captain Maya Yoshida, who blocked a shot from a corner kick. The penalty was converted by Akram Afif to give Qatar a 3–1 lead that they kept until the end of the match.