WC Wrap: Home sides struggle in qualifiers

Home ground advantage proved little benefit to several sides in the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifying matches on Tuesday and many went on to lose.

Australia, Iran, South Korea and Bahrain were all able to pick up away victories and increase their hopes of reaching the continental and world stages.

Tajikistan 0-3 Australia (Dushanbe)

Australia climbed to first place in Group B after maintaining their 100 percent record with a 3-0 win over Tajikistan.

The Asian Cup champions dominated every aspect of game, but failed to turn their possession and territory into chances, and the first half ended goalless.

That changed just 12 minutes after the break when UAE-based midfielder Mark Milligan scored his fourth international goal to hand Australia the lead.

Veteran midfielder and stand-in captain then doubled the lead for Australia when he struck in the 73rd and 91st minutes to score his 40th and 41st international goals

The Socceroos have nine points from three games and top the group, while Jordan are second on seven points and Kyrgyzstan are third on four points. Tajikistan and Bangladesh are fourth and fifth respectively with a single point each.

India 0-3 Iran (Bangalore)

Iran eased to a 3-0 victory over India at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Tuesday to climb to the summit of Group D.

The visitors took the lead in the 28th minute of the first half when Sardar Azmoun rose highest to head home a free kick from team captain Andranik Teymourian.

India managed to keep the Iran at bay for what remained of the first half, but Iran doubled their lead just a minute into the second.

Teymourian turned from provider to scorer, firing past India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu after a defense-splitting pass from Mehdi Taremi.

Taremi then put the game to rest in the 49th minute when he latched onto a pass from Omid Ebrahimi and finished with aplomb.

Iran are now level with Oman on seven points, but top the standings due to their superior goal difference.

Guam also hold seven points but have played one more game than the rest of the group and are third. Turkmenistan are fourth with one point, and India are last with zero.

Lebanon 0-3 South Korea (Saida)

South Korea’s dominance over their Group G opponents continued unabated on Tuesday when they defeated Lebanon 3-0.

The victors, who currently top the standings on nine points, have now scored 13 goals in the group and are yet to concede in any of their three games.

The Taegeuk Warriors opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Jang Hyun-soo converted a penalty, and Koo Ja-cheol doubled the lead just four minutes later.

Lebanon managed to contain the Koreans until the 60 minute when Kwon Chang-hoon scored his third goal of the qualifying tournament to kill off the match.

South Korea are level on points with second-placed Kuwait but lead on goal-difference, while Lebanon are third with three points.  Myanmar and Laos are fourth and fifth respectively with a single point each.

Palestine 0-0 United Arab Emirates (West Bank)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have clung to first place in Group A despite dropping points in a goalless draw against Palestine in West Bank on Tuesday.

Palestine and the UAE had respectively recorded 6-0 and 1-0 wins over Malaysia in their previous qualifying tournament matches, but were unable to find the net against one another at the Faisal Al Huseni Stadium.

The UAE lead the standings on seven points, while Saudi Arabia are second with six points and a game in hand on the rest of the group.

Palestine are third on four points, while East Timor and Malaysia are fourth and fifth respectively with a point each.

Yemen 0-4 Bahrain (Doha)

Bahrain picked up their first points of the qualifying campaign with a 4-0 win over fellow Group H stragglers Yemen.

Team captain and centreback Hussain Ali Baba opened the scoring from a penalty in the 31st minute before striker Sami Al Husaini doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time.

Left winger Abdullah Omar scored in the 66th minute to take the score to 3-0 and the game was ended as a contest when right-sided centreback Sayed Adnan scored the fourth goal eleven minutes later.

North Korea currently top the group on nine points, Uzbekistan are second on six points and the Philippines also hold three points but trail on goal difference.

Bahrain are fourth with three points, while Yemen are fifth are failing to pick a single point or register a goal in their four games.