The third round of AFC qualifiers has just begun and the ten teams start their campaign for qualifying to Qatar 2022 this week. Two favorites, Japan and South Korea surprisingly were scoreless and picked up negative results. In group B, Samurai Blues slumped to a shocking defeat while playing host to Oman. Maya Yoshida and Co could not break the deadlock and conceded one through Issam Al Sabhi on the 88th minute. Meanwhile, Taeguk Warriors could only ended the game in a goalless stalemate while hosting Iraq in group B. Like their neighbouring rival, Son Heung-min and Co also failed to net a single goal despite knocking on the doors most of the time.

Japan vs Oman 0-1

Goals: Issam Al-Sabhi (88)

Japan: S Gonda – Yuto Nagatomo, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, N Ueda – Wataru Endo, Genki Haraguchi (Kyogo Furuhashi 46), G Shibasaki, Daichi Kamada (Take Kubo 70), Junya Ito (Ritsu Doan 63) – Yuya Osako.

Oman: F Al Rusheidi – Al Khamisi, Al Busaidi, H Juma, Al Harthi – A Fawaz (Al Ghaelaini 90), Salah Al-Yahyaei (Fahmi Durbaein 90), Al Saadi, Al Aghbari (Isaak Al Sabhi 84) - Al Fajri, Al Mandhar (Al Alawi 71)

Meanwhile, The Socceroos started off well their campaign in group B, despite being unable to play in their home turf in their home soil but in Doha, Qatar instead, which technically become their temporary 'home base' during this pandemic and travel ban policy in their homeland. They smashed China 3-0. Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle an Mitchell Duke bagged their winning goals against the hapless China.  The contenders, Saudi Arabia also clinched a win 3-1 over the debutante team at this stage, Vietnam. The other results have not always been in favor of the big teams. Iran could ease past Syria 1-0 while UEA shared spoils against Lebanon.

The next fixtures will be contested on Tuesday, 7th September. On matchday two, there will be two interesting classic encounters, China against Japan and Iran versus Iraq.  These four sides have a long history of rivalry beyond football. However, what's more important now is to try to pick up three points as soon as possible to keep their hope to progress to the final round alive.

Matchday Two:

Group A:

  • Iran vs Iraq
  • South Korea vs Lebanon
  • Syria vs UEA

Group B:

  • China vs Japan
  • Vietnam vs Australia
  • Oman vs Saudi Arabia