Taiwan remain rooted to the bottom of Group F in Asian qualifying for the FIFA 2018 World Cup after a 5-1 defeat to Iraq in Tehran yesterday.
Group favorites Iraq, playing their home match at the PAS Stadium in the Iranian capital, took the lead through Ali Adnan after 37 minutes. Ali Hosni Faisal added a second after 59 minutes, before Ahmed Yasin, Younis Mahmoud and Justin Meram wrapped up the scoring to put Iraq second in the group.
Wen Chih-hau scored Taiwan’s consolation in the 86th minute.
Taiwan, who have lost both their qualifiers so far, will be bidding to get off the mark against Vietnam at the Taipei Municipal Stadium at 7pm on Tuesday, while Iraq travel to take on Group F leaders Thailand.
In Saitama, four-time Asian champions Japan were guilty of missing a string of chances before beating lowly Cambodia 3-0 in a lop-sided qualifier.
The Blue Samurai were hoping to put on a show after being held to a shock goalless draw at home by outsiders Singapore in their opening Group E fixture in June, but finishing chances against their 180th-ranked opponents proved a problem.
Keisuke Honda eventually opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Cambodia goalkeeper Sou Yaty should have pushed the ball over the crossbar, but seemed to misjudge the flight.
However, the goalkeeper redeemed himself with numerous saves, including an impressive one to deny Shinji Okazaki in the first half.
Shinji Kagawa should have made it 2-0 just before halftime, but he skewed his close-range shot into Sou’s arms.
With little defending to do, centerback Maya Yoshida stepped up to show the forwards how it is done by rifling a low right-foot drive past Sou to make it 2-0 in the 50th minute.
Kagawa then found his range when he angled home through a crowded penalty area 11 minutes later to seal a first competitive win for Vahid Halihodzic since being appointed Japan coach in March.
The three points took Japan on to four points from two matches ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier in Tehran against Afghanistan.
In Hwaseong, new Tottenham Hotspur signing Son Heung-min demonstrated his finishing abilities with a hat-trick as South Korea walloped lowly Laos 8-0 in their qualifier.
Son, who joined the English club for a reported 30 million euros (US$33.35 million) from Bayer 04 Leverkusen last week, struck in the 17th minute to make it 2-0 after slotting in a cross.
A powerful strike from an acute angle by the 23-year-old made it 5-0 in the 74th minute and he completed his first international hat-trick a minute from time.
South Korea’s other goals were scored by Lee Chung-yong, Suk Hyun-jun, Kwon Chang-hoon (2) and substitute Lee Jae-sung.
The win was South Korea’s second from two games in Group G ahead of Tuesday’s away match in Lebanon.
In Perth, Australia scored four times in the first half hour before going on to beat Bangladesh 5-0.
The Asian champions were never troubled against the 173rd-ranked side. Australia’s second consecutive win moved them to the top of Group B.
In Shenzhen, China were held to a goalless draw by surprise Group C leaders Hong Kong.
Additional reporting by AP
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