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North Korea opens final qualifying round with win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Sep 2008


Japan began the final round of Asian qualifying for World Cup 2010 with hard-fought win on Saturday. Qatar and Japan also emerged victorious.

Bahrain 2-3 Japan
After narrowly missing out on the 2006 finals, Bahrain looked to get out on a positive note, but the Japanese struck first with Celtic’s Shunsuke Nakamura putting the visitors in front on 18 minutes. That lead was doubled in the 44th minute when Yasuhito Endo’s penalty made it 2-0.

Bahrain had Mohammed Hussain dismissed in the 66th minute for a second bookable offense, and Kengo Nakamura seemed to have put the match beyond doubt five minutes from time with Japan’s third.

Salman Isa pulled one back for the home side two minutes later and own goal by Japan defender Tulio made it 3-2. Bahrain’s rally ended up short, however, and Japan emerged with three points.

Qatar 3-0 Uzbekistan
The Uzbeks are hopeful that 2010 will mark their first World Cup appearance, but they too started on a poor note in Doha.

Majdi Siddiq opened the account for the home side in the 37th minute, and the lead was doubled in the 73rd as Magid Mohamed scored his first goal of qualifying. Talal al-Bloushi scored Qatar’s third four minutes from time.

United Arab Emirates 1-2 North Korea
Looking to qualify for their first finals since 1966, North Korea kept the score at 0-0 until Choe Chol-Man put the visitors in front in the 74th minute.

An Chol-Hyok doubled the Korean lead in the 81st minute to secure the win, despite Bashir Saeed’s consolation four minutes from time.

North Korea went to the top of Group B ahed of Thursday’s crucial match against South Korea in Shanghai.

Saudi Arabia 1-1 Iran
A late Javad Nekounam goal helped Iran earn a point in their opening Group B match away to Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.

Saad al-Harthi’s goal on the half hour mark held up for much of the match for the home-standing Saudis, but Osasuna’s Nekounam struck 10 minutes before the final whistle to snatch a draw.


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