Kuala Lumpur: The first two rounds of Asian Qualifiers took place over the last week with a number of players still vying for 2019 AFC Cup glory turning out for their respective countries as they started their bids to make the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Lebanon's Al Ahed, Jordan's Al Jazeera, 4.25 SC of DPR Korea and Vietnam's Hanoi FC will resume their quest to taste Continental glory in two weeks' time. The-AFC.com looks at how their international stars fared for their nations in the opening rounds of the Asian Qualifiers.
Taipei: Jordan survived a late scare to make a winning start to the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Thursday as Vital Borkelmans’ side claimed a 2-1 win over Chinese Taipei in challenging conditions.
Baha Faisal and Ahmad Sameer had given the Jordanians a two-goal cushion by the halftime break on a rain-soaked pitch before Weh Chih-hao’s strike for Chinese Taipei ensured a nervous final nine minutes plus stoppage time before Jordan confirmed their opening win in Group B.
Heavy rain over the preceding two days made the pitch at the Taipei Municipal Stadium a challenge for both sides, but Borkelmans’ side brushed those difficulties aside to take a two-goal lead into the half-time break.
Pyongyang: Captain Jong Il-gwan was a two-goal hero as DPR Korea beat Lebanon 2-0 in their opening Asian Qualifiers Group H match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Thursday.
The tie was a rematch of when the two teams met in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 last January with Lebanon securing a 4-1 win over the East Asians.
However, DPR Korea had gathered a steady momentum coming into the Qualifiers after emerging champions in the 2019 Intercontinental Cup two months ago.
Pathum Thani: The spoils were shared in Group G’s first ASEAN derby, with Thailand and Vietnam playing out a 0-0 draw in their opening FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers match on Thursday.
Reigning regional champions Vietnam and a Thai side in their first match under head coach Akira Nishino both had their moments in Pathum Thani, but neither managed to find the breakthrough required to make a winning start to their campaign.
Taipei: With his principal objective achieved, Vital Borkelmans was delighted as he headed back to Jordan with his players having kicked off their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers Group B campaign with victory over Chinese Taipei.
Goals in the first half from Baha Faisal and Ahmed Sameer gave Borkelmans’ side enough of a cushion to ensure they picked up the three points, despite a late goal from Wen Chih-hao, allowing the Belgian to shift his focus to his side’s upcoming games.