AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar: Five Takeaways from Matchday Five
Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar reached the halfway point with the six games of Matchday Five across the two groups producing one home win, two away victories and three draws.
Australia, Saudi Arabia and Korea Republic remained unbeaten going into the second half of the campaign, while Vietnam, Iraq, Syria and the United Arab Emirates are all yet to register a win in five, but all teams continue to have a mathematical chance of reaching Qatar 2022. the-AFC.com reflects on five takeaways from the latest round of matches played on Thursday.
Jahanbakhsh lauds IR Iran teammates after late triumph against Lebanon
Saida: Captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh hailed his teammates’ determination as the Islamic Republic of Iran’s late comeback saw Dragan Skocic’s side hand Lebanon a 2-1 defeat at Saida International Stadium on Thursday to move one step closer to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Stoppage time goals from Sardar Azmoun and Ahmad Nourollahi cancelled out Soony Saad’s first-half strike to keep the Iranians on top of Group A in the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar 2022 as Skocic’s outfit notched up a fourth win in five games.
Bento hails Korea Republic performance in win over UAE
Goyang: Korea Republic head coach Paulo Bento was full of praise for his side after a 1-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar on Thursday left them on course to reach their 10th successive FIFA World Cup.
The narrow scoreline did not tell the whole story as Korea dominated from start to finish, hitting the woodwork three times and posting 21 shots to the Emiratis’ four as the visitors were completely overwhelmed.
In the end, only Hwang Hee-chan’s 36th-minute penalty separated the sides as he coolly slotted home after Hwang In-beom was upended in the box.
Advocaat, Mahrous hold on to slender hopes after Iraq and Syria share points
Doha: Iraq head coach Dick Advocaat and his Syrian counterpart Nizar Mahrous echoed each other’s message of hope after their sides ended the first half of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar without a win.
The two teams played out a 1-1 draw at Thani bin Jassim on Matchday Five of Group A, a result that leaves Syria bottom of the group with two points and Iraq fourth, moving ahead of the UAE who dropped to fifth after a 1-0 defeat to Korea Republic.
The latter, alongside leaders Islamic Republic of Iran, remain unbeaten with both powerhouses looking good value for the top two direct qualification spots to Qatar 2022. That means Iraq and Syria, alongside UAE and Lebanon would all fight it out for third place.
Australia's Arnold rues Souttar blow, Renard hails Saudi Arabia after stalemate
Sydney: Australia head coach Graham Arnold revealed his dejection after star defender Harry Souttar suffered what appeared to be a serious injury in Thursday’s goalless AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar draw against Saudi Arabia.
The Socceroos dropped two points in their bid to reach a fifth successive FIFA World Cup, but the far bigger loss on Thursday may yet be that of the 23-year-old, who was stretchered off after collapsing to the turf with around 15 minutes remaining.
Souttar, who underwent scans on Friday, has been ruled out of Tuesday's tie against China PR in Sharjah.
Al Rushaidi calls for focus, Li disappointed after China PR and Oman draw
Sharjah: Oman captain Fayez Al Rushaidi insisted his side need to remain focused for the remainder of their AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar campaign following their 1-1 draw with China PR on Thursday.
Coach Branko Ivankovic’s men came from a goal behind to walk away from China PR’s adopted home in Sharjah with a point that keeps them within touching distance of Australia and Japan who occupy second and third place in Group B respectively.
Moriyasu satisfied with three points; Park admits gulf in quality
Hanoi: Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu has admitted that limited time together ahead of Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Vietnam in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar campaign made it tough to prepare for the Matchday Five encounter.
As is so often the case, the bulk of the Japan squad travelled from Europe to meet up with the camp in Hanoi ahead of the game at My Dinh Stadium in the Vietnamese capital.
But, while Japan were not at their best, Junya Ito’s goal in the 17th minute proved enough for them to claim a second successive win in Group B and move within a point of second-placed Australia in the standings.