Oman beat Taiwan on Thursday, while Japan, South Korea, Australia and Iran notched up comfortable wins as the second phase of Asia’s preliminaries for the 2026 FIFA World Cup began for the region with few surprises and a flurry of goals.
Taiwan were defeated 3-0 in Muscat, Oman keeping their undefeated record intact against the visitors with their third victory.
Omar al-Malki opened the scoring after 17 minutes at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, with Ahmed al-Kaabi making it 2-0 shortly before halftime. Saleh Mataz added a bonus goal two minutes into second-half stoppage-time.
Taiwan and Oman are in Group D with Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan, who played in Kuala Lumpur, the hosts winning 4-3. Taiwan face Malaysia in Taipei on Tuesday.
In Japan, Ueda scored a hat-trick as a largely second-string side defeated Myanmar 5-0 after Hajime Moriyasu left many of his leading performers on the bench ahead of their more exacting Group B clash against Syria in Jeddah on Tuesday.
Ueda put Japan ahead in the 11th minute at the Suita Stadium outside Osaka when he headed in Takumi Minamino’s lofted pass and Daichi Kamada doubled the advantage 17 minutes later from distance.
Ritsu Doan set up Ueda’s second in first-half stoppage-time and he completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half after Minamino unlocked the Myanmar defense. Doan scored the fifth four minutes from time.
North Korea and Syria were to play in Group B after press time last night.
Australia were also untroubled as they completed a 7-0 demolition of Bangladesh in Group I with Jamie Maclaren stepping off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick.
Goals from Harry Souttar and Brandon Borrello gave the hosts a two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes before Mitchell Duke hit a brace late in the first half as Australia trampled over the south Asians at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Maclaren scored from a Jordan Bos cross shortly after the restart before pouncing again in the 70th minute when a Massimo Luongo shot pinged off goalkeeper Mitul Marma. Lewis Miller set up Maclaren for his hat-trick in the 84th minute.
The win put Australia top of the early standings after Lebanon and Palestine shared a 0-0 draw in Sharjah.
South Korea scored four times in the second half to hand Singapore a 5-0 defeat in Group C at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Cho Gue-sung put Juergen Klinsmann’s team in front a minute before halftime and Hwang Hee-chan added the second four minutes into the second half.
Son Heung-min hit the third in the 63rd minute before Hwang Ui-jo’s penalty and Lee Kang-in’s late effort wrapped up the victory.
South Korea were joined on three points by China, who beat Thailand 2-1 in Bangkok.
Iran top Group E after Sardar Azmoun’s early double helped them to a 4-0 win over Hong Kong. Uzbekistan beat Turkmenistan 3-1 in the other Group E game.
Saleh al-Shehri scored twice as Saudi Arabia won 4-0 against Pakistan in Group G, while Jordan were held to a 1-1 draw by Tajikistan.
Vietnam defeated hosts the Philippines 2-0 in Group F before Iraq secured a comfortable 5-1 victory over Indonesia, while in Group H, the United Arab Emirates eased to a 4-0 win over Nepal and Bahrain beat Yemen 2-0.
Almoez Ali netted four times in Qatar’s 8-1 Group A demolition of Afghanistan and India beat Kuwait 1-0.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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