AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Wrap: Iran, Oman make it to Australia
By Football News
Iran were one of five nations to book their place at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup on Tuesday with qualification victories.
The three-time winners of the tournament confirmed their progression from Group B with a 4-1 win over Lebanon in Beirut.
Oman, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Kuwait progressed courtesy of respective wins over Syria, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.
Iran were given a first-half lead by Esteghlal defender Amir Sadeghi, and three further goals came the visitors' way prior to Mohamed Haidar's consolation.
Lebanon's defeat - combined with Kuwait's 3-1 win over Thailand - leaves Giuseppe Giannini's men battling for the best third-place finish and means Kuwait have reached their 10th Asian Cup as runners-up behind Iran.
Oman booked a third appearance in the tournament thanks to a 91st-minute strike from Eid Mohammed against Syria, while Abdulkarim Salem was Qatar's match-winner with a 65th-minute strike in Shah Alam.
Goals in the final six minutes from Vokhid Shodiev and Odil Akhmedov were enough to see Uzbekistan beat Hong Kong and confirm a sixth appearance at the final tournament.
Three sides who had already ensured qualification remain top of their respective groups after maintaining their unbeaten runs.
United Arab Emirates produced a dominant performance in Abu Dhabi, beating the hapless Vietnam 5-0. The Group E leaders were four goals ahead by half-time, with the top-scorer in qualification – Ali Ahmed Mabkhout – netting the third after half an hour.
A goal in the opening minute from Mohamed Salmeen put Bahrain in control against Yemen, and Faouzi Aaish added a second with two minutes remaining to guarantee his side kept top spot in Group D ahead of Qatar.
Saudi Arabia - who have already won Group C - dropped points for the first time in qualification as China held them to a goalless draw in Xi'an, while Iraq kept their hopes of usurping China alive with a 2-0 win over Indonesia.