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Kuala Lumpur: The Islamic Republic of Iran became the first Asian team to seal their spot at next year’s FIFA World Cup earlier in the week, but elsewhere there remains plenty of unanswered questions.

After yet another exciting round of fixtures featured late drama, cracking goals and the odd surprise to boot, reflects on some of the key statistics from Matchday Eight.

If at first you don’t succeed

Ali Makhbout’s seven attempts on goal was more than any other player on Matchday Eight and, after he seemed to be heading for an unsuccessful night in front of goal, the UAE frontman netted at the death to secure a 1-1 draw with Thailand.

Keeping busy

It’s rare that Kawin Thamsatchanan is not heavily involved in the action, and so it proved again as the Thailand custodian’s six saves against the UAE exceeded any other ‘keeper on the continent.

Thou shall not pass

Uzbekistan were the latest side to be put the sword by the Islamic Republic of Iran, who advanced to the FIFA World Cup following a 2-0 win that saw them maintain their perfect defensive record having still yet to concede.

Iran advance to the FIFA World Cup

Japan, for once, concede possession 

Iraq completed more passes (448) than any other side against a Japan team renowned for keeping the ball as the Samurai Blue tactfully conceded possession to conserve energy in the baking heat of Tehran as the game finished 1-1.

Off night for Omar

Omar Abdulrahman’s 22 misplaced passes was higher than any other outfield player; however, the 2016 AFC Player of the Year still managed to create a weekly high of five chances as the UAE and Thailand ended 1-1.

Omar Abdulrahman: Wasteful passes vs chances created

Birthday blues

There was little goodwill from Iraq players on Keisuke Honda’s special day as the birthday boy – along with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Burayk – was fouled more times (6) than any other player on Matchday Eight.

Energetic Aaron

Aaron Mooy’s active performance in the centre of the park proved key for Australia with the midfielder’s 108 touches and 15 recoveries both weekly highs as the Socceroos claimed a crucial 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia.

Physical encounter

Qatar won a weekly high of 67 duels while opponents Korea Republic conceded the most fouls with 23 as forward Hwang Hee-chan’s seven fouls made him the guiltiest culprit.


The UAE delivered an incredible 28 crosses into the box, 12 more than second-placed Syria, before ultimately going through the middle to level the score at 1-1 at the death.

Goals, goals, goals

It may not have stood out as a high-scoring week, but Matchday Eight saw the ball hit the net more than any other as 20 goals flew in across the six games.

Photos: Lagardère Sports