The third matchday in Asia's third qualifying round for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ saw the favourites run riot across the continent, their big wins leaving them within touching distance of early passage to the next stage. Most notably, Japan put eight unanswered goals past Tajikistan, while Australia and Jordan both won 3-0 over Oman and Singapore respectively to stay perfect.
There were tensely-contested thrillers elsewhere, with Qatar edging past Indonesia 3-2, while Iraq and Uzbekistan recorded slim but crucial away victories. Join FIFA.com as we take a closer look at the night's Asian action.
Iran 6-0 Bahrain
Seyed Hosseini 22, Mojtaba Jabari 34, Hadi Aghili 42, Andranik Samarani 62, Karim Ansari 75, Gholam Rezaei 83
What was expected to be a close contest turned out to be a one-sided affair in favour of Iran, who pulled off a magnificent 6-0 victory over ten-man Bahrain to consolidate their position at the top of Group E. The visitors were dealt a blow at the outset as Rashid Al Hooti received his marching orders for a rough challenge inside the opening minute. Captalising on their numerical advantage, the Iranians dominated the game, cruising to an easy win with three goals in each half.
In the section's another game, Cristian Gonzales struck a brace as his Indonesia twice came from behind to draw level against visiting Qatar. With so much at stake, Mohammed Razak rose to the occasion and grabbed the match-winning goal on the hour-mark for the west Asians, who moved to second place behind Iran.
Lebanon 2-2 Kuwait
Hassan Maatouk 15, 86 (PEN); Musaed Nada 50, Mahmoud Younes 88 (OG)
Having revived their fortunes with a 3-1 stunner against UAE, Group B's Lebanon went on to draw 2-2 with Kuwait, a side who beat them 6-0 in a July friendly. The hosts went ahead on 15 minutes courtesy of two-goal hero Hassan Maatouk, who would go on to restore their advantage four minutes from time after Musaed Nada had leveled for the Kuwaitis. The visitors were made to sweat throughout and were lucky to escape defeat with Mohmoud Younes' late own-goal gifting them an away point.
In the other match in the group, Korea Repubic tightened their grip on the section with a 2-1 home win over pointless United Arab Emirates, who are facing elimination. Arsenal forward Park Chu-Young kept up his goal-scoring form with his fifth of the campaign as he put his side in front, before the hosts doubled the lead through Ismail Hamdan's own-goal, making Ismaeil Matar's late strike little more than consolation.
In other action
Jordan kept up their unblemished record with a resounding triumph in Singapore to cement their place at the summit of Group A, while Iraq emerged 1-0 winners in China, with captain Younis Mahmoud on target on the stroke of half-time. The Jordanians can progress to the next stage with two games to spare if they win their next match against Singapore and other results go their way, but the Chinese, with just three points, face an uphill battle in the return match with Iraq at Doha.
Also sitting comfortably at the top of their section are Australia of Group D, who thrashed Oman with goals from Brett Holman, Joshua Kennedy and Mile Jedinak for a third straight win. The result leaves the Socceroos on the cusp of progression, with another three points in the next outing enough to see them through regardless of the other results. In the other game, Thailand continued their impressive run by holding Saudi Arabia to a goalless draw at home, the result keeping them in second place.
In Group C, leaders Japan produced the biggest win of the qualifying campaign so far by dismantling Tajikistan 8-0, with Mike Havenaar, Shinji Okazaki and Shinji Kagawa each completing a brace while Yuichi Komano and Kengo Nakamura were also on target. In the other match, Alexander Geynrikh netted the only goal as Uzbekistan recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory in Korea DPR. The results see the two winning sides share top spot on seven points, and they can both qualify with wins in next month’s return legs.
Having netted the winner in their previous 2-1 defeat of China on the road to South Africa 2010, Iraq playmaker Nashat Akram proved the People’s Republic’s scourge once again as he provided the assist for Mahoud’s winning goal this time around.
34 - the number of goals scored throughout the ten games of this free-scoring matchday.
What they said
"We did a great deal of work in preparation for this match, but unfortunately Lady Luck was on Iraq's side. Our players worked hard, but with our rivals playing deep, it was hard for us to make the breakthrough and obviously we were lacking potency upfront," China coach Jose Antonio Camacho.
Asian third qualifying round, matchday 3 results (11 October)
Group A: Singapore 0-3 Jordan, China PR 0-1 Iraq
Group B: Lebanon 2-2 Kuwait, Korea Republic 2-1 United Arab Emirates
Group C: Korea DPR 0-1 Uzbekistan, Japan 8-0 Tajikistan
Group D: Thailand 0-0 Saudi Arabia, Australia 3-0 Oman
Group E: Iran 6-0 Bahrain, Indonesia 2-3 Qatar