Five AFC nations are unbeaten and three are perfect after two days of the third and final round of World Cup qualifying for Asia.
The top two teams in Groups A and B will win automatic qualification to Russia 2018 once 10 games have been played, with the first two in the books for all 12 teams as of Tuesday morning.
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Who’s in the catbird seat and who has a ton of work to do? Read on…
Qatar 0-1 Uzbekistan
We told you the White Wolves were not to be slept on in our World Cup surprise teams post, and manager Samvel Babayan’s side is 2-0 thanks to consecutive 1-0 victories over Syria and Qatar. While admittedly two of the must-wins inside Group A, both jobs were handled. This one came courtesy an 86th minute goal from defender Egor Krimets of Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League.
UAE 0-1 Australia
After a road win over Japan, United Arab Emirates were hoping to put their stamp on Group B as upstarts. Unfortunately, there’s this fella named Tim Cahill who knows how to put himself in the right places at the right times. It was an ex-Merseyside connection that did the trick, as former Liverpool man Brad Smith — now with Bournemouth — played a terrific cross into the path of Cahill, whose 48th international goal stood as the winner.
Matchday 2 results
Iraq 1-2 Saudi Arabia
China 0-0 Iran
Syria 0-0 South Korea
Thailand 0-2 Japan