- UAE and IR Iran fell in stunning upsets
- Korea Republic’s first competitive game in Pyongyang ended in a draw
- Japan, Syria, Australia maintained 100 per cent records
Surprises and upsets dominated Matchday 4 of Asia’s second qualifying round for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, with both IR Iran and the United Arab Emirates suffering unexpected losses while Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic and China PR were held to away draws.
Only a trio of teams have managed to stay perfect this campaign, with Japan, Australia and Syria all making it three wins from three to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the next round. Join FIFA.com as we take a closer look at the action across the continent.
Matchday 4 results
Group A: Philippines 0-0 China PR, Syria 4-0 Guam
Group B: Chinese Taipei 1-7 Australia, Jordan 3-0 Nepal
Group C: Bahrain 1-0 IR Iran, Cambodia 0-4 Iraq
Group D: Palestine 0-0 Saudi Arabia, Singapore 1-3 Uzbekistan
Group E: India 1-1 Bangladesh, Qatar 2-1 Oman
Group F: Tajikistan 0-3 Japan, Mongolia 1-2 Kyrgyz Republic
Group G: Thailand 2-1 United Arab Emirates, Indonesia 1-3 Vietnam
Group H: Korea DPR 0-0 Korea Republic, Sri Lanka 0-3 Lebanon
Thailand 2-1 United Arab Emirates
Goals: Teerasil Dangda 26′, Eakkanit Punya 51′; Ali Mabkhout 45’+2
Group G‘s Thailand overcame 1990 World Cup finalists United Arab Emirates 2-1 at home to move to the top of the table. Spurred on by the home crowd, Akira Nishino’s hosts proved the better side throughout as they swept past the visitors, who are 48 places above them in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Nineteen-year-old Eakkanit Punya stood out, providing the assist for the opener before striking the match-winning goal.
The lively winger first crossed for Teerasil Dangda to open the scoring with a header on 26 minutes. After Ali Mabkhout drew the visitors level before the break, Punya sealed the tie with his first international goal shortly after the restart when he latched on to Sasalak Haiprakhon’s cross to make it 2-1. In the other match, Vietnam saw off hosts Indonesia 3-1 to move level with Thailand on points, with UAE trailing by a point.
The other attractions
In Group A, captain Omar Al Soma scored a hat-trick as Syria routed Guam 4-0 in Dubai for their third straight victory to move clear at the top of the table. In the other match, a disappointing goalless draw against hosts Philippines saw Marcello Lippi’s China PR slip to second place, making their next outing against the Syrians in Dubai in a month’s time a pivotal game.
Group B pace-setters Australia cemented their place at the top with a 7-1 victory in Chinese Taipei. Adam Taggart, Jackson Irvine and Harry Souttar each completed a brace as Graham Arnold’s Socceroos clinched their third successive win. In the section’s other match, second-placed Jordan bounced back to defeat Nepal 3-0 at home, with the result leaving them the chance to move to the top of the table with a home win against Australia in the next outing.
In Group C, Iraq and Bahrain both won to move to the top of the table level on points. The former fired four unanswered goals past hosts Cambodia while the latter stunned IR Iran 1-0 with Mohamed Al Hardan scoring the only goal on 65 minutes.
In Group D, Uzbekistan followed up their 5-0 home win over Yemen with a 3-1 away victory in Singapore. Captain Odil Ahmedov opened the scoring inside the quarter-hour before dynamic forward Eldor Shomurodov completed a second-half brace to give them a second consecutive win. The result, coupled with Saudi Arabia’s goalless draw against hosts Palestine in the other match, saw the Uzbeks move a point clear at the top of the table.
In Group E, Qatar consolidated their place at the summit with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Oman at home courtesy of goals from Akram Afif and Almoez Ali. Meanwhile, Adil Khan struck late to cancel out Saad Uddin’s first-half strike as hosts India came from behind to draw 1-1 against Bangladesh in the other match.
Japan moved three points clear in Group F after beating hosts Tajikistan 3-0. RB Salzburg striker Takumi Minamino scored a quick-fire brace after the restart to give Japan a 2-0 lead before Takuma Asano put the icing on the cake by sealing the victory with a late strike. In the other match, Kyrgyz Republic followed up their 7-0 victory against Myanmar with a 2-1 win in Mongolia as they moved to second place, level with Tajikistan on points.
Group H joint-leaders Korea Republic and Korea DPR shared the spoils in a goalless stalemate in Pyongyang. Despite the result, the pair remain at the top of the table with Paulo Bento’s visitors leading on goal difference. That proved a result welcomed by Lebanon, who beat hosts Sri Lanka 3-0 to move within a point of first place.
Did you know?
The match between Korea DPR and Korea Republic was the two sides’ first competitive game staged in Pyongyang and Korea Republic’s first appearance in their northern neighbour’s capital in any competition in three decades. It also marked their fourth draw in seven World Cup qualifying meetings so far.