Singapore win as Australia draw

Pim Verbeek's rookie Australian side opened its 2011 Asian Cup qualifying campaign with a gritty 0-0 draw against Indonesia, while Singapore earned three precious points by beating Jordan 2-1.

In other action, Peter Reid's Thailand ground out a respectable scoreless draw in Bangkok with Ali Daei's formidable Iran. Iran were expected to take all three points after running riot in a 6-0 drubbing of Singapore in their opening qualifier, but the Thais proved their match and now have four points from their two Group E games.

That leaves them level with Iran while Singapore have three points after knuckling down to post a hard-fought home victory over Jordan. Agu Casmir got their opener after 21 minutes but Jordan were level four minutes before the break when Hatem Aqel made no mistakes from the penalty spot.

Knowing a win was crucial if they wanted to stay in contention for one of the two qualifying berths from each group, Singapore pressed forward and were rewarded when Noh Alam Shah scored the winner on 63 minutes. Playing in Jakarta's imposing Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, the Socceroos were so inexperienced that only six members of the squad had played at senior level before.

It meant the A-Leaguers had little time to gel and the lack of preparation showed early on against a side ranked 144 in the world. It was hard going in the first half on a soft and bumpy pitch with neither side producing many scoring opportunities.

Australia had plenty of possession and kept their shape well but with their European stars missing the team lacked a cutting edge. The game opened up in the second half with Indonesian striker Budi Sudarsano finding himself in a great position on 62 minutes, but his close range header lacked power.

Socceroos striker Archie Thompson tested goalkeeper Markus Horison three minutes later and Adelaide United midfielder Paul Reid went close in the 69th minute, but the breakthrough never came. Also in Australia's group is Kuwait, who open their tilt at qualifying with a home tie against Oman later in the day.

Asian heavyweights Japan travel to Bahrain, but the three-time champions have injury worries with both their top goalkeepers out. In their other group match, Hong Kong play Yemen.

United Arab Emirates are seen as favourites to progress from Group C with a home tie against Uzbekistan to give them two wins out of two. Group D action sees Lebanon playing in Beirut against Syria.

Five teams have already booked their tickets with Qatar qualifying automatically as hosts while Iraq, Saudi Arabia and South Korea are assured of their places after finishing as the top three in the 2007 tournament. India make the finals after winning the AFC Challenge Cup last year.