AFC 2014 World Cup qualifying: Uzbekistan stun Iran, Japan steal late win

Adam Pretty

Japan is all but in the World Cup after they defeated Oman late, while Uzbekistan shocked Iran in Tehran.

Japan is almost certainly about to become the first team to qualify for the World Cup, while Uzbekistan have put Iran and South Korea into a bit of a sticky situation. Iraq and Qatar were also victorious in their matches to keep things very interesting throughout both qualifying groups.

Oman 1-2 Japan

This one was a heartbreaker for the hosts. Hiroshi Kiyotake scored the opener off of a scramble following a thrilling first 20 minutes with chances for both sides. Oman thought they were going to steal a point when Ahmed Kano netted an unexpected equalizer in the 77th minute, but their hopes for a draw were killed off in the dying minutes. Shinji Okazaki turned in a cross at the end of a brilliant move in the 90th minute, snatching a win for Japan. They have 13 points through five games, which should be good enough for second in Group B even if they fail to earn another point. Oman are still third in the group.

Iraq 1-0 Jordan

The Iraqis rescued their qualifying hopes, pulling level with Oman and Australia with this victory. They left it late, but Hammadi Ahmad eventually found an 86th minute winner.

Qatar 1-0 Lebanon

Lebanon look like the team least likely to make their way out of Asian qualifying at the moment. They sit bottom of Group A after a tough fought, but expected loss to Qatar. Naturalized Uruguayan Sebastián Soria scored his third goal of qualifying to grab three points for his side.

Iran 0-1 Uzbekistan

With South Korea sitting dormant during this round of qualifiers, Uzbekistan stunningly fired themselves to the top of the Group A table with a victory in Tehran. Iran, who defeated Uzbekistan away when the teams last met, was coming off of a win over South Korea and was expected to win again at home, but Ulugbek Bakayev netted an improbable winner for the visitors as they held on for a clean sheet. Uzbekistan sit on eight points, ahead of Iran, South Korea and Qatar, who all have seven. South Korea has a game in hand, and the top two teams automatically qualify for the World Cup.

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