Kuala Lumpur: On a night which produced 74 goals across 16 matches, Asia’s top marksmen found their range on Matchday Three of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Seven players netted hat-tricks on Thursday, as the Continent’s heavyweights, and some rising powers, flexed their muscles in a series of emphatic home wins.
Here, the-AFC.com looks at some of the most effective front men on Matchday Three.
We should have scored more, says UAE's van Marwijk
Dubai: Head coach Bert van Marwijk said United Arab Emirates, despite winning 5-0, should have have scored more goals in their Asian Qualifiers Group G tie against Indonesia on Thursday.
Ali Mabkhout - as was the case against Malaysia last month - was the star of the night with a hat-trick as he became the UAE's all-time topscorer with 54 goals. Khalil Ibrahim and Tareq Ahmed were the other scorers at Al Maktoum Stadium as the West Asians moved to the top of the standings.
Krestinin pleased with Kyrgyz Republic’s magnificent seven
Bishkek: Kyrgyz Republic head coach Alexander Krestinin expressed satisfaction, albeit measured, after his side had pundits searching for the record books with a blistering 7-0 Asian Qualifiers Group F win over Myanmar on Thursday.
The Akshumkar were irresistible against the Southeast Asians, registering their biggest ever win as a national team as veteran midfielder Edgar Bernhardt bagged the first hat-trick of his career.
The result was much needed, putting their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying campaign back on an even keel after last month’s 1-0 defeat to Tajikistan in Dushanbe, and their boss praised his charges for an excellent night’s work.
Tehran: Marc Wilmots was glowing with pride after seeing his Islamic Republic of Iran side produce a wonderful display of attacking football against Cambodia in their Asian Qualifiers Group C tie on Thursday.
Karim Ansarifard scored four, Sardar Azmoun three, Mehdi Taremi and Mohammad Mohebi two each with Ahmad Noorollahi, Hossein Kanaani and Mehrdad Mohammadi also on the scoresheet as Team Melli took another step towards qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Canberra: Jamie Maclaren declared it his ‘proudest moment in a football jersey’ after scoring a hat-trick for Australia in their Asian Qualifiers Group B tie against Nepal on Thursday.
The Melbourne City striker had one international goal to his name heading into the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying clash at GIO Stadium in Canberra, a strike against Palestine in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
Guangzhou: Marcello Lippi is keeping his sights trained on a place in the next round of the Asian Qualifiers after seeing his side notch up a second straight win on Thursday with a 7-0 victory over Guam at Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou.
Yang Xu scored four and there were also goals from Wu Lei, Wu Xi and Elkeson as China PR followed up their 5-0 win over the Maldives last month by claiming another comfortable three points on the road to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
China now lead Group A alongside Syria with six points out of a possible six and next face the Philippines in Bacolod on Tuesday.