Matchday Two of Asia’s final qualifying round for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ belonged to the east Asians, with both Japan and Korea Republic prevailing against their respective west Asian rivals. In doing so, the Japanese fired six unanswered goals past Jordan at home to cement their place at the summit of Group B while the Koreans opened brightly with a 4-1 win in Qatar to edge Iran on goal difference at top Group A.
Australia, meanwhile, began their campaign with a disappointing goalless stalemate in Oman while a 1-1 draw left both hosts Lebanon and Uzbekistan still searching for their opening victory. Join FIFA.com as we review the day in detail.
Asian final qualifying round, matchday 2 results:
Group A: Qatar 1-4 Korea Republic, Lebanon 1-1 Uzbekistan
Group B: Japan 6-0 Jordan, Oman 0-0 Australia
Qatar 1-4 Korea Republic
Yusef Ahmed 22; Lee Keun-Ho 26, 80, Kwak Tae-Hwi 55, Kim Shin-Wook 64
Korea Republic showed Qatar no mercy as they came from a goal down to thrash the hosts 4-1. After some early exchanges, the game sparked to life midway through the opening period when Yusef Ahmed put the Qataris ahead through a wonderful individual effort. Surging down from the left channel, the Al Sadd striker ghosted past Kwak Tae-Hwi to break the deadlock. The lead, however, proved short-lived as the visitors equalised four minutes later, Lee Keun-Ho getting his head to a Kim Bo-Kyung cross to draw level.
The Taeguk Warriors upped the tempo after the restart and their efforts paid dividends on 55 minutes when Kwak Tae-Hwi headed the Koreans into the lead off a corner. The Koreans went on to dominate the remainder the match, with Lee Dong-Gook squaring for substitute Kim Shin-Wook to make it 3-1, before the impressive Keun-Ho headed home his second to seal the resounding triumph.
Japan 6-0 Jordan
Ryoichi Maeda 19, Keisuke Honda 21, 30, 53(PEN), Shinji Kagawa 35, Yuzo Kurihara 89
The 60,000 home supporters at Tokyo's Saitama Stadium were treated to an enthralling game as Japan continued their rampaging form against Jordan. In the two sides' last meeting at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Alberto Zaccheroni's Blue Samurai narrowly avoided defeat with only Maya Yoshida's stoppage-time equaliser salvaging them a point. But 16 months on, the Japanese, fielding the same line-up that drew 1-1 with the Jordanians previously, emerged a different team in the re-match, producing the matchday's biggest win to top Group B with six points.
Keisuke Honda was once again the hero for Japan, having a hand in four goals. Having set up Ryoichi Maeda to head the hosts ahead with a corner on 19 minutes, the CSKA Moscow midfielder doubled the lead two minutes later when he ran onto Yasuhito Endo's piercing pass to slot home. After the visitors were reduced to ten men with Abdallah Deeb's dismissal, the 25-year-old made it 3-0 with a close-range effort on the half-hour, before Shinji Kagawa put the game beyond any doubt ten minutes from break. The four-goal advantage, however, only served to whet the hosts’ appetite for more goals in the second half. Honda completed his first international hat-trick with a penalty shortly after the restart, before Yuzo Kurihara wrapped up the resounding victory with a header.
The other attractions
In Beirut, it was by no means what new Uzbekistan coach Mirdjalal Kasimov had expected as his side were held to a 1-1 draw by hosts Lebanon in his first game in charge. The hosts conceded an opening goal after 12 minutes when a defensive error by Ali Al Saadi allowed Jasur Hasanov to give the visitors the lead. Saadi, though, made up for his mistake 22 minutes later when he equalised with a sublime free-kick to earn his side a share of the spoils.
Australia opened in lacklustre fashion as the Socceroos dropped points in Oman. The sweltering conditions in Muscat obviously took a toll, with Holger Osieck’s side failing to produce any clear-cut chances in the opening half despite enjoying the bulk of possession. In the opposite third, Paul Le Guen's hosts looked dangerous on the break and they nearly opened the scoring after the restart when Amad Al Hosni forced Mark Schwarzer into a brilliant save. The draw leaves the Australians trailing Japan by five points and hoping for improved form in their next home game against the east Asians four days later.
Shinji Kagawa put in a brilliant performance for Japan. The recent Manchester United signing scored Japan's fourth goal by way of a lightning strike and won a spot-kick from which Honda converted.
3 - After today’s matches, only Australia, Oman and Iran maintain an undefeated home record going into their next outings.
What they said
"I told my players to improve their accuracy in finishing against Jordan and they did well. It was good to score six goals and we showed our intent to get one of the group's two tickets for the World Cup," Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni.