Tehran: The Islamic Republic of Iran booked the first AFC ticket to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a third consecutive win in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar, beating neighbours Iraq 1-0 at Azadi Stadium on Thursday.
The result sees Team Melli go back to top the group after Korea Republic had temporarily snatched the lead with a win against Lebanon earlier in the day, the Iranians building an unassailable lead at the top that pulled them past the finish line with three games to go.
Group A: Cho strike takes Korea Republic nearer to Qatar 2022
Saida: Korea Republic overcame the absence of Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan to hand Lebanon a 1-0 defeat at Saida Municipal Stadium in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar and move to the verge of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Finals.
Cho Gue-sung’s goal in first half injury time was the difference between the sides on a blustery afternoon on Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast and the win takes Paulo Bento’s side onto 17 points from seven games.
Victory means the the Koreans will qualify for a 10th straight FIFA World Cup Finals and 11th in total if the United Arab Emirates do not defeat Syria later on Thursday.
Dubai: The UAE took full advantage of the slip ups of their direct competitors for third place by brushing aside Syria 2-0 on Matchday Seven of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar at Al Maktoum Stadium on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Lebanon and Iraq were beaten 1-0 by Korea Republic and Islamic Republic of Iran respectively, meaning the UAE had the chance to open a four-point lead in the playoff qualifying position with a win over Syria, which they duly achieved thanks to goals from Caio and Yahya Al Ghassani.
Group B: Saudi Arabia maintain tight grip on top spot
Jeddah: Saudi Arabia consolidated their position at the top of Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar with a narrow 1-0 home win against Oman at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium on Thursday.
With the win, Saudi Arabia’s tally rose to 19 points, confirming at least a playoff spot with the possibility of finishing below third place eliminated.
They could confirm qualification to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a win in their next match. Meanwhile, Oman’s fate is hanging by a thread, as they are left with a seven-point gap between them and third place with three games to go.
Group B: Japan stay in the hunt with win over China PR
Saitama: Yuya Osako’s penalty and a header from Junya Ito earned Japan a comfortable 2-0 win over China PR on Thursday as Hajime Moriyasu’s side remained in second place in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar.
Osako gave Japan the lead 13 minutes into the game and Ito made sure of the points just after the hour mark as the Samurai Blue move onto 15 points from seven games in their attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The win was Japan’s fourth in a row but the loss for the Chinese means their hopes of securing a place in the playoffs have diminished further, with Li Xiaopeng’s side remaining on five points.
Group B: Australia beat Vietnam to get back on track
Melbourne: Australia got back to winning ways in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar campaign following a comfortable 4-0 victory over Vietnam at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Thursday.
Jamie Maclaren opened the scoring for a dominant Australia after 30 minutes before the impressive Tom Rogic added a second on the stroke of half-time to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb.
Craig Goodwin made sure of the three points with 18 minutes remaining and Riley McGree rounded off the scoring four minutes later as the Socceroos secured their first win since Matchday Three to keep the pressure on group leaders Saudi Arabia and Japan.