Asian favourites underlined their dominance on Matchday 3 with the continent's quartet at Brazil 2014 all cruising to big wins at home. Australia and Korea Republic maintained their unblemished record, while Japan and Iran registered their first three points.
*China PR 0-0 Hong Kong
*China PR's hopes were dealt with a severe blow as the 2015 AFC Asian Cup quarter-finalists were inexplicably held to a goalless stalemate by Hong Kong at home. Goalkeeper Yapp Hung Fai and the woodwork denied the hosts as the visitors inflicted another upset on China, achieving a feat similar to when they ran out 2-1 winners on the road to Mexico 1986 three decades ago.
Hung Fai pulled off a series of heroics between the sticks as Hong Kong kept their formidable rivals at bay. Alain Perrin's hosts were, for their part, left lamenting their lack in accuracy with Zheng Zhi and Yu Hanchao each twice hitting the woodwork. With the game nearing 90 minutes, China saw an appeal for a spot-kick waved away as the match ended goalless. With the precious point in their pockets, Hong Kong maintain their leading place in Group C ahead of Qatar.
The other attractions
*Hosts United Arab Emirates from *Group A showed Malaysia no mercy by firing home ten unanswered goals. Ahmed Khalil netted four times and Ali Mabkhout recorded a hat-trick as the 2015 AFC Asian Cup semi-finalists ran riot. But the home side had Omar Abdulrahman to thank as the playmaker provided as many as six assists. In the day's final game, Saudi Arabia thrashed Timor-Leste 7-0 as they share the top spot with UAE in the group.
In Group B, despite missing captain Mile Jedinak and No1 goalkeeper Matt Ryan due to injuries, hosts Australia proved too strong for Bangladesh as they ran out 5-0 winners. Two quick-fire goals from Mathew Leckie and Tom Rogic gave the hosts a 2-0 lead inside eight minutes. Topu Barman made it 3-0 by putting through his own net on 20 minutes, before Nathan Burns put the game beyond any doubt nine minutes later. Aaron Mooy put the icing on the cake on the hour-mark as the Socceroos remain top of the group.
Group D front-runners Guam were back brought down to the earth after conceding six unanswered goals against hosts Iran. Striking youngsters Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi each completed a brace as Team Melli rediscovered their winning form. Oman, meanwhile, defeated Turkmenistan 3-1 as they share the top spot with Guam with six points each.
In what was their last match on home soil this year, Group E's Japan bounced back with a 3-0 victory against Cambodia. Keisuke Honda broke the deadlock on 28 minutes before second-half goals from Maya Yoshida and Shinji Kagawa ensured their win. The result, coupled with Syria's 1-0 home win against Singapore, saw Japan trail the west Asian leaders by two points.
Group G favourites Korea Republic maintained their smooth run with an 8-0 home victory against Laos. Tottenham Hotspur's new signing Son Heung-Min completed a treble and Kwon Chang-Hoon scored twice as the Taeguk Warriors registered a second win. As if not to be outdone, Kuwait trounced Myanmar 9-0 at home to remain level with the Koreans on six points.
Veteran striker Younis Mahmoud was on target as Group F's Iraq got off to a brilliant start with a 5-1 home win against Chinese Taipei. The result came as a timely boost for the Iraqis ahead of their next fixture against leaders and hosts Thailand five days later.
Elsewhere, Korea DPR continued their impressive run by defeating Bahrain 1-0 away. Jong Il-Gwan scored the match-winner as the Chollima consolidated their lead in *Group H *with a third successive win. In the other game, Alexander Geynrikh scored the only goal upon his return as Uzbekistan revived their fortunes with a 1-0 home win against Yemen.
*Already one of the burgeoning stars of Iran, Sardar Azmoun continued his emergence on the international stage by firing his side to a first qualifying victory in this campaign. The 20-year-old Rostov marksman earned a spot-kick through which Ashkan Dejagah opened the scoring, before netting two quick-fire goals as Team Melli swept past Guam.
*Did you know?
*The 15-0 win against Bhutan proved to be Qatar's biggest victory in history, replacing their previous record, an 8-0 win against India in 1998.
What they said
*"This disappointing result showed how unpredictable a football game could be. We produced fairly good chances only failing to win the game. But it was not the worst we could have had. After all, we have gained a point, instead of dropping three points." *China coach Alain Perrin
*Matchday 3 results:
*Group A: United Arab Emirates 10-0 Malaysia; Saudi Arabia 7-0 Timor-Leste
Group B: Australia 5-0 Bangladesh; Jordan 0-0 Kyrgyzstan
Group C: China PR 0-0 Hong Kong; Qatar 15-0 Bhutan
Group D: Iran 6-0 Guam; Oman 3-1 Turkmenistan
Group E: Japan 3-0 Cambodia; Syria 1-0 Singapore
Group F: Iraq 5-1 Chinese Taipei
Group G: Korea Republic 8-0 Laos; Kuwait 9-0 Myanmar
Group H: Bahrain 0-1 Korea DPR, Uzbekistan 1-0 Yemen
*All matches involving Indonesia have been cancelled as a result of the suspension of their Football Association.