South Korea bounce back as Syria hold UAE
SEOUL, South Korea, Sept 7, (Agencies): Australia edged Vietnam 1-0 in Hanoi on Tuesday to make it two wins out of two in Group B of Asia World Cup qualifying. Also in Group B Saleh Al-Shehri starred as Saudi Arabia defeated Oman 1-0 on the road to maintain their good run in the qualifiers.The Saudi Arabia and Australia have six points but the Socceroos lead on goal difference. Meanwhile Yuya Osako scored the only in the first half as Japan beat winless China 1-0 to get their campaign back on track after their shock home loss to Oman on Tuesday. Japan and Oman are tied for 3rd spot with China at the bottom. Syria held UAE to 1-1 draw. Ali Ahmed Mabkhout gave UAE an early lead but the hosts equalized through Mahmood Albaher in the second half.
In Group A, South Korea defeated Lebanon 1-0 at Suwon World Cup Stadium to pick up their first win of the stage, after 0-0 against Iraq five days earlier. Rhyan Grant ran to the far post to steer in a header after 43 minutes in an empty My Dinh Stadium. His first international goal kept the Socceroos on track for a fifth successive World Cup appearance. Vietnam are making their first appearance at this stage of qualifying but had chances, including a VAR review for a possible penalty against Grant’s handball before the visitors took the lead. In humid conditions and on a difficult playing surface, Vietnam pushed for a point but couldn’t find a way past Mat Ryan in the Australia goal. Mitchell Duke looked to have sealed the win with a low shot four minutes from the end but the goal was ruled out for offside.
South Korea’s campaign to appear at a 10th successive World Cup was hit by the late withdrawal of Son Heungmin. The Tottenham Hotspur star injured a calf in training on Monday and was deemed unfit to play. Without Son, South Korea struggled against Lebanon goalkeeper Mostafa Matar. The deadlock was broken only on the hour, when Kwon Chang-hoon shot past Matar from close range. The top two from both six-team groups qualify automatically for the World Cup in Qatar. The third-place teams meet in a playoff and the