AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar - Analysis: Chances galore, stubborn defences and Oman's emergence
Kuala Lumpur: The first two rounds of fixtures in the final round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar campaign have now been completed as the continent's best teams battle it out for a place at next year's global showpiece
As fans of Asian football now look ahead to the next set of international games in October, the-AFC.com shines the spotlight on some of the standout statistics from an intriguing opening to the two groups.
Five Takeaways from the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar Matchday Two
Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar continued on Tuesday with six matches across the two groups to conclude the first window of games and there was plenty of action to dissect.
Islamic Republic of Iran go into the next window in October as Group A leaders, two points ahead of Korea Republic, while it is neck and neck in Group B with both Australia and Saudi Arabia getting off to a perfect start to lead with six points each. the-AFC.com reflects on some of the key takeaways from Tuesday’s action.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: IR Iran's Skočić hails well-deserved victory, Iraq's Advocaat bemoans defensive gaps
Doha: Islamic Republic of Iran head coach Dragan Skočić credited his side’s ability to manage the game for their 3-0 victory against neighbours Iraq on Matchday Two of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Group A.
Team Melli ended the first window of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar with full marks, having beaten Syria 1-0 at Azadi Stadium on Thursday before adding a second victory on Tuesday, keeping clean sheets across both games to top the group at this early stage of the campaign.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh opened the scoring for IR Iran inside three minutes, heading home Mehdi Taremi's pinpoint cross from the left. Taremi turned from provider to scorer in the second half, adding his side's second before substitute Ali Gholizadeh rounded off the scoring late on.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Bento rues Korea Republic's lack of efficiency, Hasek praises Lebanon's fighting spirit
Suwon: Paulo Bento believes more work is needed on his side's attacking game after Korea Republic spurned numerous chances in their slim 1-0 win over Lebanon in their AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar Group A clash at Suwon World Cup Stadium on Tuesday.
Substitute Kwon Chang-hoon scored the tie's only goal on the hour, just two minutes after coming on, to earn the home side their first win of the Group A campaign at the rain-soaked venue in Suwon city.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Arnold proud of Socceroos, Park lauds Vietnam players
Hanoi: Australia head coach Graham Arnold hailed the efforts of his side after the Socceroos claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Vietnam on Matchday Two of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Group B on Tuesday.
Having beaten China PR 3-0 in their opening game last Thursday, Australia were looking to continue their perfect start as they bid to reach a fifth successive FIFA World Cup.
And in humid conditions at My Dinh Stadium they did just that as Rhyan Grant's header just minutes before half-time proved the difference between the sides to ensure the Socceroos remain in pole position in Group B.
AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Saudi Arabia’s experience key in win over Oman, says Renard
Muscat: Saudi Arabia head coach Herve Renard praised his side’s mentality after they secured a second consecutive win in their AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar Group B campaign.
A terrific first half goal by Saleh Al Shehri was enough for the Saudis to register 1-0 victory against Oman at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Thursday, taking them level with Australia at the top of the group with six points apiece.