Group A: Late strikes secure IR Iran victory against Lebanon
Saida: Stoppage time goals from Sardar Azmoun and Ahmad Nourollahi saved the Islamic Republic of Iran at Saida International Stadium on Thursday as Dragan Skocic’s side claimed a dramatic 2-1 win over Lebanon in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar 2022.
Azmoun showed his predatory instincts once again for his country as he cancelled out Soony Saad’s opportunistic first half opener before Nourollahi smashed home a low drive to earn the visitors all three points as the qualification campaign for Qatar 2022 reaches the halfway stage.
It was a remarkable escape for the five-time FIFA World Cup qualifiers, who remain on top of Group A as a result of win that broke the hearts of a Lebanese side that looked set to hold on for a historic victory.
The Iranians move on to 13 points and stay two clear of Korea Republic at the summit of Group A while Lebanon remain on five points from the first five games of the campaign. The result, though, was a cruel blow for Ivan Hasek’s side, who put on a disciplined defensive performance that frustrated their visitors until deep into injury time.
Group A: Korea Republic beat UAE to edge closer to Finals
Goyang: A dominant Korea Republic strengthened their position in the top two of Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar following a 1-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates at Goyang Stadium on Thursday.
Korea Republic were in complete control in the opening 45 minutes and took a deserved lead 10 minutes before the interval through Hwang Hee-chan's penalty in a half that saw the hosts twice strike the post.
The home side continued to push forward in the second half but a combination of the woodwork and near misses kept the score at 1-0 as in the end Korea Republic maintained their unbeaten home record and left the UAE still searching for their first win in Group A.
Hanoi: Junya Ito scored the only goal of the game as Japan moved within a point of second-placed Australia in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar after a 1-0 victory over Vietnam on Thursday.
Japan had the majority of the possession in the opening stages at My Dinh Stadium and went in front in the 17th minute through Ito’s sixth international goal.
With no change to the scoreline in the second half, the victory saw Japan make it two wins from two after defeating Australia last month and left Vietnam to rue a fifth successive loss.
Group B: Australia, Saudi Arabia battle to a stalemate
Sydney: Saudi Arabia claimed a potentially crucial point in their bid to reach the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, holding Australia to a 0-0 draw in their AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar clash on Thursday.
Both sides had chances to secure what would have been three priceless points, but Herve Renard’s Green Falcons will have emerged the happier after avoiding defeat for the first time on Australian soil.
The result ensures Saudi Arabia have reached the half-way point of the Final Round as Group B leaders, while Australia’s failure to build on their enviable home record means they remain in second place.
Sharjah: China PR and Oman picked up their first draw in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar, playing out a 1-1 draw at Sharjah Stadium on Thursday.
The two sides went into the game in fourth and fifth place, with Oman’s six points putting them three clear of their opponents, and with Japan defeating Vietnam 1-0 earlier in the day, a win was a must for Oman if they were to retake third place from the Samurai Blue, while China PR knew another defeat would leave them six points adrift of third place at the midway point of the qualifiers campaign.