Renard satisfied with Saudi Arabia's progress despite China PR draw
Sharjah: Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard celebrated his team’s qualification for the FIFA World Cup™ despite a 1-1 draw with China PR in Sharjah on Thursday that saw the Gulf nation relinquish top spot in Group B of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar™ with one match remaining.
The draw with the already-eliminated Chinese saw the Saudis slip to second in the standings, one point behind Japan after the Samurai Blue defeated Australia in Sydney to book their berth at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and move into pole position.
Japan’s win over Graham Arnold’s side also meant Saudi Arabia had qualified for the FIFA World Cup ahead of Thursday’s game.
Japan’s Moriyasu credits players for Sydney success, Arnold looks ahead
Sydney: Delighted Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu lauded the winning mindset of his players after they scored twice in the dying minutes to qualify for this year’s FIFA World Cup™ with a 2-0 AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar™ win over Australia on Thursday.
Substitute Kaoru Mitoma was the hero, breaking the deadlock from close range in the 89th minute before a low effort skidded on the greasy surface and under goalkeeper Mat Ryan four minutes into stoppage time as Japan celebrated their first away win over the Socceroos since 1998.
Lebanon's Hasek disappointed with heavy defeat to Syria
Sidon: Lebanon head coach Ivan Hasek was a disappointed man following his side’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Syria in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar™ at the Saida Municipal Stadium on Thursday.
The defeat virtually ended Lebanon’s hope of reaching the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time ever as they now have an impossible task that would require them to win their final match and wait for the other results to go their way.
Sharjah: Saudi Arabia’s FIFA World Cup qualification celebrations were muted on Thursday evening as Herve Renard’s side were forced to share a 1-1 draw with China PR in Sharjah in their Group B of AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar clash after a late penalty from Zhu Chenjie.
Saleh Al Shehri put the Saudis, who had been confirmed as qualifying for the FIFA World Cup due to Japan’s win over Australia earlier in the day, in front in first half injury time before Zhu’s 82nd minute spot kick levelled the scores.
As a result the Japanese will go into Tuesday’s final round of matches with a one point lead over Saudi Arabia with Australia in third spot. China PR remain in fifth with the draw moving them onto six points from nine games.
Group B: Japan beat Australia to reach Qatar 2022™
Sydney: Japan secured their place in a seventh successive FIFA World Cup™ emerging from a crucial AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar™ clash against Australia with a 2-0 win on Thursday.
A pair of late goals from substitute Kaoru Mitoma finally rewarded Japan on a night where they peppered the Australian goal, leaving the Socceroos in a precarious position in their own bid to reach Qatar 2022.
The result means Graham Arnold’s side will enter the playoffs in June, with wins required over the third placed side in Group A, as well as the fifth placed South American side, if they are to qualify.
Sidon: Syria secured their first win in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar™ against hosts Lebanon with a 3-0 win at the Saida Municipal Stadium on Thursday.
Defeat for the home side means the United Arab Emirates need a point from their remaining two games to advance to the playoff stage, while Lebanon’s slender hope would require them to win their final match and wait for other results to go their way.
In stark contrast to the reverse fixture that saw Lebanon win 3-2, Syria took the game by the scruff of the neck from the get-go, clinically converting their chances in the first half and consigning The Cedars to defence for most of it.