Tokyo: Japan enter this month's double header in the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar seeking to put their campaign back on track having suffered two defeats in their opening four outings.
Hajime Moriyasu's Samurai Blue opened their Group B campaign as favourites but with just two wins, they are now languishing in fourth place trailing behind front-runners Saudi Arabia, second-placed Australia, and also Oman on goal difference.
Next up are a pair of away fixtures in Vietnam and Oman with the six-time FIFA World Cup campaigners desperately hoping to build momentum.
AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar: How Group A stands
Kuala Lumpur: The final round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar campaign enters its midway stage as the sides return for their crucial Matchday Five and Six fixtures on November 11 and 16. Ahead of the games, the-AFC.com gives you an overview of how things look in Group A.
Asian powerhouses Islamic Republic of Iran and Korea Republic already have a strong foothold in the group. Both teams are unbeaten, with leaders Iran starting their campaign with three consecutive wins before a share of the spoils with the Koreans last time out. Two points back, the Taeguk Warriors have won two and drawn two.
Three goals in four games has seen captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh lead the Iran scoring chart. The Feyenoord forward’s superb header against Korea on Matchday Four secured a 1-1 draw to maintain Team Melli’s place at the top of Group A after Mehdi Taremi’s goal had sunk the United Arab Emirates a few days earlier.
AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar: How Group B stands
Kuala Lumpur: With the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar returning on November 11 for another crucial pair of double-headers, the-AFC.com brings you up to speed with how things look in Group B.
Saudi Arabia are the runaway leaders, boasting a perfect record, with Australia keeping up the chase three points back. Oman and Japan come next, while China PR and Vietnam occupy the bottom two places.
Herve Renard’s Saudi Arabia have made a blistering start to the campaign as home wins against Japan and China PR on Matchdays Three and Four added to earlier victories over Vietnam and Oman. They have now won all nine of their games in 2021.
Quang Hai: Vietnam must maintain resolve against Asian giants
Hanoi: With four losses in as many matches, 10 goals conceded and just four scored, Vietnam languish at the foot of Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar.
Having made history by powering through the previous round to reach the decisive stage for the first time, Park Hang-seo's Golden Star Warriors’s hopes of making further progress are fast diminishing.
Their poor start has left the Vietnamese all too aware that they face a must-win scenario against Japan at home on Thursday.
By any standards, it looks a formidable task for a team that has lost all three of their previous meetings against the Samurai Blue across all competitions. But the hosts can at least take heart from their brave showings in their last meeting during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals when they restricted their heavyweight rivals to a 1-0 win, as midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai told FIFA.com.
Tactical change pays off for Amman Club, Gokulam Kerala rue missed chances
Aqaba: Khaled Nemer's second half tactical change made all the difference as Jordan's Amman Club came from behind to defeat India’s Sree Gokulam Kerala 2-1 in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021 on Sunday.
Amman were trailing from Elshaddai Acheampong’s first half strike but the Jordanian club turned the game around with goals from Maysa Jbarah and Samia Ouni sealing the win.
Amman are tied for first place with Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shahrdari Sirjan, who defeated FC Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan with a similar scoreline.