Five Takeaways from AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar Matchday Four
Kuala Lumpur: There were late goals, winning streaks ending and others extending as the second window of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar concluded on Tuesday with six games played across the two groups.
IR Iran continued to lead Group A while Saudi Arabia overtook Australia into the top spot of Group B as Lebanon and Oman moved into the play-off qualifying third spot after four games. the-AFC.com summarises five key takeaways from Matchday Four of the action.
Vote for AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar Player of the Week
Kuala Lumpur: After a thrilling October window the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar is shaping up as one of the best qualification races in memory, and Asia’s galaxy of stars delivered no shortage of quality over the past week.
Big names came to the fore for Islamic Republic, Korea Republic, Syria and China PR, while fresh-faced youngsters left their mark for Japan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, with Asia’s Qatar 2022 picture beginning to take shape.
After 12 matches and 38 goals, we’ve picked out 10 outstanding performers from the week that was. Study our list of contenders and cast your vote.
Skočić not satisfied, Bento welcomes “fair result” after Tehran draw
Tehran: Islamic Republic of Iran head coach Dragan Skoćić was left wanting more, while his Korea Republic counterpart Paulo Bento praised a quality contest after the two sides played out a 1-1 AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar draw at Azadi Stadium on Tuesday.
Son Heung-min looked like he may have given the visitors all three points when he scored on the break in the 48th minute, but that goal sparked an Iranian revival which culminated in an Alireza Jahanbakhsh equaliser.
The result keeps Team Melli two points ahead of the Koreans on top of Group A, and both sides remain well placed to reach Qatar 2022, but Skočić wouldn’t go as far as saying he was happy with dropping points on home soil.
Ivankovic: Half-time talk inspired Oman past Vietnam
Muscat: Branko Ivankovic said he used his half-time pep talk to push Oman to a rousing 3-1 win over Vietnam in their AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar Group B tie on Tuesday.
Oman went into the half-time break level with Issam Al Sabhi equalising after Nguyen Tien Linh had given Vietnam the lead. A rejuvenated Oman then claimed the three points with second half goals from Mohsin Al Khaldi and Salah Al Yahyaei to move third in the standings after four matches.
Moriyasu praises Japan's resilience, Australia's Arnold positive despite defeat
Saitama: Hajime Moriyasu hailed his squad’s unity as Japan shrugged off the pressure of a disappointing start to their campaign in the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar to pick up a late 2-1 win over Australia at Saitama Stadium on Tuesday.
Aziz Behich’s own goal five minutes from time earned the Japanese a second win in four games in Group B to move to within three points of the Socceroos in the quest for one of the two automatic berths at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.