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AFC World Cup Qualifying Review: Australia slip up, Japan remain unbeaten

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Oct 2015

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Asia Cup champions Australia lost top spot in Group B on Thursday as they were beaten 2-0 by Jordan in the second round of AFC World Cup qualifiers.

Ange Postecoglou’s side had not lost since January heading into the clash in Amman, but they struggled to find their rhythm and were caught out twice in the second half.

Hassan Abdel Fattah converted a penalty soon after the break to give the hosts the lead, before Hamza Al Daradreh finished off a swift counter-attack with the second late on.

Victory lifts Jordan into first place at the halfway stage, while Kyrgyzstan held onto third place as Anton Zemlianukhin grabbed a last-gasp equaliser from the spot in their 2-2 draw with Tajikistan.

Japan maintained their unbeaten record in Group E with a 3-0 win over Syria, second-half strikes from Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki and Takashi Usami giving them a comfortable victory.

Elsewhere in the group, Singapore beat Afghanistan 1-0 to open up a four-point gap over their opponents.

Iran were grateful to Jalal Hosseini as they snatched a point against Oman, the defender earning his side a 1-1 draw after Saad Suhail had broken the deadlock after 52 minutes.

The draw sees both sides remain level on eight points at the top of Group D, while Turkmenistan earned their first win as they beat India 2-1.

Group A leaders Saudi Arabia came from a goal down to earn a 2-1 victory over United Arab Emirates, the three points secured thanks to a Mohammed Al Sahlawi double with the winner coming in stoppage time.

Palestine remain in third place in the group after their 1-1 draw with East Timor, Ahmed Nayea volleying home from close-range to clinch a point.

Qatar strengthened their lead at the top of Group C as they beat China 1-0 in Doha, Karim Boudiaf grabbing the decisive goal to extend their advantage to five points.

Elsewhere in the group a late comeback from Bhutan was not enough to earn them their first point against Maldives, the minnows scoring three goals in the final five minutes as they were beaten 4-3.

South Korea took control of Group G thanks to a 1-0 triumph over Kuwait, while Lebanon inflicted a third defeat on Myanmar with a 2-0 win in Bangkok.

Uzbekistan roared back into contention in Group H as they took full advantage of North Korea’s goalless draw with Philippines.

Four second-half goals secured a 4-0 victory for Uzbekistan over Bahrain, moving them within a point of the group leaders – who they face next month.

Meanwhile in Group F, Younis Mahmoud was Iraq’s hero as he fired home a 96th-minute penalty to earn a 1-1 draw with Vietnam.

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