East Asia & ASEAN Wrap: Defending champions BG Pathum held as Thai League 1 season kicks off
Hong Kong: The 2021-22 Thai League 1 campaign got underway at the weekend with defending champions BG Pathum United held to an opening-day stalemate by Chonburi.
A thrilling contest in Korea Republic saw Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors edge FC Seoul to keep the pressure on league leaders Ulsan Hyundai, while all 18 teams have now played their first round of fixtures in Indonesia's Liga 1.
Elsewhere, there was action in Japan, Malaysia and Cambodia, so join the-AFC.com as we review the latest fixtures from across East Asia and ASEAN.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Oman looking to continue dream beginning against Saudi Arabia
Muscat: Fresh from defeating one Asian giant, Branko Ivankovic’s Oman will aim to keep the good times rolling when they face another continental powerhouse in Saudi Arabia in their second AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar fixture on Tuesday.
Given little chance by most, Oman delivered a shock result which reverberated around Asia when they beat Japan 1-0 in Osaka last Thursday, with substitute Issam Al Sabhi writing his name into his country’s football folklore with his decisive 88th minute goal.
Far from a smash and grab, the win was the result of organisation, planning and execution, and one which gives them hope of delivering a repeat performance against a Saudi Arabia outfit who also began their campaign with a win on Thursday.
AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar: Arnold wants Australia to build on impressive start as Vietnam aim to bounce back
Hanoi: Australia head coach Graham Arnold believes his side can benefit from a lack of crowd at My Dinh National Stadium when they take on Vietnam in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar on Tuesday.
Goals from Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle and Mitchell Duke saw the Socceoos ease to a 3-0 victory over China PR in their opening fixture in Doha on Thursday as they became the early pacesetters in Group B.
Next up they travel to the Vietnamese capital for a first-ever meeting with Vietnam at what is normally an intimidating My Dinh National Stadium. However, with the hosts playing behind closed doors due to COVID-19, Arnold sees the perfect opportuity to claim back-to-back wins.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: China PR, Japan on must-win mission
Doha: Takehiro Tomiyasu will be available for selection as Japan look to bounce back from their surprise loss to Oman in Osaka in their opening game in the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar when Hajime Moriyasu’s side take on China PR in Doha on Tuesday.
China PR will also be seeking a win after having suffered a 3-0 defeat to Australia in their opener on Thursday, with Li Tie's side unable to capitalise on a fast start against the Socceroos.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Syria and UAE chase first victory
Amman: Syria and the UAE will be targeting their first win of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar when they face-off on Matchday Two of Group A on Tuesday.
The UAE dominated from the start to finish on home turf but they could not find a breakthrough in their campaign opener against Lebanon even as Ali Mabkhout rounded the goalkeeper but struck the woodwork instead, leaving his side to walk away from Zabeel Stadium with a point, not three.
For Syria, the trip to Azadi Stadium looked set to be a stalemate like the other two games in the group, but the Qasioun Eagles’ defences caved in after 56 minutes with Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s curled effort deflected off a defender and into the back of the net for IR Iran’s winner.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Iraq, IR Iran set for titanic clash
Doha: Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran are looking to continue their unbeaten start to the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar Group A when they lock horns in Doha on Tuesday.
On head coach Dick Advocaat’s competitive debut at the helm, Iraq held Korea Republic to a goalless draw in Seoul with the Dutchman content with ceding possession and looking to hit on the counter.
Meanwhile, their neighbours IR Iran produced the only win of the group on the opening day when captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s deflected shot settled in the Syrians’ net, with Team Melli going into Matchday Two leading Group A with three points, two ahead of the four sides that drew in the previous round of matches.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Korea Republic's Son Heung-min vows to raise game against Lebanon
Suwon: Korea Republic captain Son Heung-min is determined to impose himself on proceedings after a disappointing draw in their opening game in the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar when Paulo Bento's side take on Lebanon at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Tuesday's Matchday Two tie.
The Taeguk Warriors will be aiming to belatedly pick up their first three points of the campaign after they were frustrated by a resilient Iraq defence in a goalless draw at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday, with Tottenham Hotspur star forward Son and his teammates unable to unlock a determined rearguard effort from the West Asians.
Their attacking options against Lebanon will be further hampered by the news that Al Duhail midfielder Nam Tae-hee has been withdrawn from the squad following a hamstring injury with a replacement not due to be named.