Mon, Nov 19, 2007 - Page 20 News List

FIFA WORLD CUP: Singapore and Thailand qualify for third round

AFP , SINGAPORE

Singapore held Tajikistan to a 1-1 draw in Dushanbe while Thailand ground out a 1-0 victory at home over Yemen yesterday to book their places in the 2010 World Cup draw in South Africa next weekend.

They join 11 Asian teams who have already qualified for the third round along with the top seeds from the region -- Australia, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia -- who received byes.

LATE GAMES

Two other berths were up for grabs with Hong Kong playing Turkmenistan yesterday after a 0-0 first leg, while Indonesia faced the almost impossible task of overturning a 4-1 first leg deficit to Syria when they play in Damascus.

At the draw, the countries will be split into five groups of four teams with the winners and runners-up advancing to the fourth round of qualifying.

It will culminate with four teams from Asia playing at the World Cup in 2010, with the region's fifth placed team playing off against the top team from Oceania.

advantage

Singapore took a 2-0 advantage into their showdown with Tajikistan and knuckled down to ensure they made it to the preliminary draw for the first time.

Tajikistan took the lead after just two minutes of play through Jamshed Ismailov, but the Lions held firm, knowing they still had a one goal cushion.

They pressed forward and were paid off when Noh Alam Shah gave the equalizer after 27 minutes on a pitch that was rock hard and devoid of grass in places.

In Bangkok, Sarayoot Chaikamdee was the hero with his 15th minute strike proving decisive, allowing the Thais to go through 2-1 on aggregate.

The other Asian teams through include Bahrain, China, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Uzbekistan.

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