Kuala Lumpur: Matchday Three of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar concluded on Thursday with the six games seeing four home wins, a draw and an away victory, and there were talking points aplenty to discuss.
There was no change at the summit of the two groups as Islamic Republic of Iran and Australia continued their perfect starts to the campaign, while Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia strengthened their hold on second place in Groups A and B respectively. the-AFC.com takes a deeper look at what transpired across the continent on Thursday.
Relentless Australia target Japan next after making history
Doha: Australia head coach Graham Arnold says his only focus is next week's clash with Japan after the Socceroos became the first team to win 11 games in a row in the same qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup.
They achieved the historic feat by beating Oman 3-1 in Qatar on Thursday, with Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle and Mitch Duke getting on the scoresheet.
The victory ensured Australia top Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar on goal difference from Saudi Arabia, having coasted through the previous rounds with eight straight wins.
Bento: Korea Republic should have closed out game against Syria earlier
Ansan: Paulo Bento has rued Korea Republic's missed opportunities despite the Taeguk Warriors scoring late to secure a 2-1 victory over Syria in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar on Thursday.
The East Asians had almost complete control of the first half but failed to find the opening goal as Song Min-kyu headed onto the crossbar and, incredibly, Hwang Hee-chan was off target with three gilt-edged opportunities as Korea's problems in front of goal continued.
Hwang In-beom's effort from distance ultimately broke the deadlock early in the second half but it appeared Bento's side were going to be punished for their profligacy when the 2017 AFC Player of the Year Omar Khribin stunned the hosts by firing home an equaliser with just six minutes to play.
Win against Vietnam perfect boost for China PR, says Li Tie
Sharjah: Li Tie is hoping China PR’s dramatic victory over Vietnam will give his side a much-needed boost after Wu Lei’s stoppage time goal earned his team a 3-2 victory over Park Hang-seo’s spirited side in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar in Sharjah on Thursday.
The Chinese held a two-goal lead with 15 minutes remaining after efforts from Zhang Yuning and Wu, but Ho Tan Hai and Nguyen Hoang Duc struck in the final 10 minutes as the Southeast Asians seemed set to secure an unlikely point.
But Wu swept home Wang Shenchao’s cross from the left in the fifth minute of added time to restore China’s advantage to break Vietnamese hearts and give his team their first win in the current round of preliminaries.
Van Marwijk vows UAE will soldier on, Skočić delighted with IR Iran's resilience
Dubai: United Arab Emirates boss Bert van Marwijk urged his players to keep fighting after they suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Islamic Republic of Iran in their latest AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar clash on Thursday.
While solitary Mehdi Taremi goal in the 70th minute took Team Melli a step closer to a return to the FIFA World Cup, UAE now find themselves seven points behind the group leaders and five adrift of second placed Korea Republic after three of 10 matches.
Ivanković: Inexperience cost Oman defeat to Australia
Doha: Oman head coach Branko Ivanković identified a lack of big-match experience as a factor in their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Australia in Thursday’s AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar clash at Khalifa International Stadium.
Oman asked plenty of questions of the Australians in the first half as Al Mandhar Al Alawi scored to cancel out Awer Mabil’s thumping opener, but second half goals by Martin Boyle and Mitch Duke steered the Socceroos to their third consecutive win in Group B, and their 11th in their Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign.