Thailand advance, Jordan rout BangladeshArchive
SINGAPORE: Thailand drew 2-2 with former Asian champions Iraq on Thursday to book their spot in the next round of World Cup qualifying, while new Jordan manager Harry Redknapp enjoyed an emphatic 8-0 win over Bangladesh on his international debut.
Hamza Al Daradreh hit a first-half hat-trick in the blow out win for the former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United manager which set Jordan up for a Group ‘B’ Sydney shootout on Tuesday with Asian champions Australia, who earlier thumped Tajikistan 7-0.
The Socceroos only need to draw to ensure top spot and progress to the 12-team third round of Asian qualifiers, but that result could also see Jordan go through as one of the four best runners-up across the eight groups.
Thailand, Southeast Asian champions, can stop thinking about the complex qualifying procedure after another progressive display by their talented young squad in Iran ensured top spot in Group ‘F’ and a spot at the 2019 Asian Cup.
They led twice after late goals in each half from Mongkol Thosakrai and Adisak Kraisorn, in the 86th minute, and joined Qatar and South Korea in the third round despite conceding a stoppage-time equaliser.
The Koreans, looking to play in a ninth consecutive World Cup, preserved their 100 percent record in Group ‘G’ after a 92nd-minute winner from Lee Jeong-hyeop gave them a 1-0 win over Lebanon in Ansan.
Japan, Asia’s other perennial World Cup qualifiers, recorded their sixth straight win in Group ‘E’ as they thumped Afghanistan 5-0 in Saitama to stay clear of second place Syria, who they host on Tuesday.
Uzbekistan put themselves within touching distance of winning Group ‘H’ after beating Philippines 1-0, while Iran remain in charge of Group ‘D’ following a 4-0 win at home to India.
Second place is all China can manage in Group ‘C’ after a stuttering campaign.
With Gao Hongbo having returned to take charge after the sacking of French coach Alain Perrin, China secured a routine 4-0 win over the Maldives in Wuhan, thanks to a hat-trick from Ning Jiang.
That moved China ahead of Hong Kong on goal difference in Group ‘C’ ahead of Tuesday’s vital clash against pool winners Qatar where victory is required.
Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2016