Syria top Afghanistan; Thailand continue winning ways
Osama Omari scored a hat trick and Mahmoud Al Mawas netted twice in Syria’s 5-2 win over Afghanistan in a World Cup qualifying game played on neutral turf in Oman on Tuesday because of conflicts in both countries.
Syria led 3-1 at halftime, with Noroallah Amiri scoring for Afghanistan just before the break.
Faisal Shayesteh’s goal in the 78th cut the margin to one goal but Omari’s third made it 4-2 in the 83rd and Al Mawas put the result beyond doubt in the last minute.
The win, Syria’s fourth in five games, allowed the war-torn country to overall unbeaten Japan atop Group E with 12 points. Japan, which didn’t play Tuesday, is level on 10 points with Singapore, which beat Cambodia 2-1.
Striker Hamza Aldaradreh scored two second-half goals as Jordan beat Tajikistan 3-0 and extended its lead over Asian Cup champion Australia in in Group B.
Aldaradreh opened the scoring in the 65th, Hassan Mahmood doubled in the lead two minutes later and Aldaradreh capped it off with Jordan’s third deep in stoppage time.
Jordan leads the group with 13 points and is four clear of Australia.
Gulf champion Qatar maintained its winning streak in Pool C with a 4-0 win over Maldives, moving to 15 points and gaining a buffer of five over second-place Hong Kong. Striker Chan Siu Ki scored in the 89th to give Hong Kong a 1-0 win over Bhutan.
In Group D, second-half substitute Abdulaziz Al Maqbali scored twice and set up the other goal as Oman beat India 3-0 to take the lead in the pool with 11 points, while Turkmenistan edged Guam 1-0 in an earlier match.
Jong Il Gwan’s 12th-minute penalty gave the North Koreans a 1-0 win over Yemen at Pyongyang to extend its lead in Group H, with Bahrain avenging an opening loss to the Philippines by scoring two second-half goals in a 2-0 win at home in the return match later in the same pool.
Thailand beat Vietnam 3-0 at Hanoi with goals from Kroekrit Thaweekarn in the 29th , skipper Theeraton Bunmathan in the 70th and an own-goal from Dinh Tien Thanh to move five points clear in Group F.
In other early matches, Malaysia beat winless East Timor at Dili for its first win in Group A.
The eight group winners and four best runners-up will advance to the last round of Asian qualifying.
South Korea, Iran and China were among the other teams not playing Tuesday.