Goals abound as giants run riot in Asian World Cup qualifiers

  • Giants enjoyed goal-scoring sprees in Asia

  • IR Iran’s 14-0 win was the biggest of the matchday

  • Iraq prevailed in their first home fixture since 2011

Once again the gap between Asia's underdogs and its big boys was highlighted in Thursday's Matchday 3 of the second round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Scoring sprees characterised the night as the giants ran riot. The likes of IR Iran, Japan, Australia, China PR, Korea Republic and United Arab Emirates all won big at home while Qatar, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia bounced back to winning form. Join FIFA.com as we take a closer look at the action across the continent.

Matchday 3 results

(10 October) Group A: Syria 2-1 Maldives, China PR 7-0 Guam Group B: Australia 5-0 Nepal, Jordan 0-0 Kuwait Group C: IR Iran 14-0 Cambodia, Iraq 2-0 Hong Kong Group D: Saudi Arabia 3-0 Singapore, Uzbekistan 5-0 Yemen Group E: Oman 3-0 Afghanistan, Bangladesh 0-2 Qatar Group F: Japan 6-0 Mongolia, Kyrgyz Republic 7-0 Myanmar Group G: United Arab Emirates 5-0 Indonesia, Vietnam 1-0 Malaysia Group H: Lebanon 2-1 Turkmenistan, Korea Republic 8-0 Sri Lanka

The match

Syria 2-1 Maldives Goals: Omar Al Soma 26’, 60’; Ali Ashfaq 70’

With big wins aplenty throughout the night, it was Syria's narrow 2-1 victory against Maldives in Group A that raised many eyebrows. Playing the home game in neutral Dubai, the Syrians went into the match as the clear favourites considering that they are 68 places above the visitors in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s World Ranking. The opponents had, however, proved capable of upsets in the qualifying campaign in the past, notably holding Korea Republic to a goalless draw on the road to Germany 2006.

Syria dominated the proceedings with captain Omar Al Soma striking in each half to give them a 2-0 lead inside 60 minutes. With the hosts looking on course to victory, however, they were reduced to ten men with defender Ahmed Al Salih seeing a red card. Capitalising on the numerical advantage, the Maldives quickly pulled one back through Ali Ashfaq. However, an equaliser didn't come, with the Syrians striving to keep the rivals at bay and run their one-goal lead to victory.

In the group’s other game, in-form forward Yang Xu scored four times as Marcello Lippi's China cruised past Guam 7-0 at home. The results now see Syria and China level on points with the Chinese on top courtesy of their superior goal difference.

The other attractions

In Group B, hosts Australia put five unanswered goals past Nepal at home for their second successive win. Striker Jamie Maclaren completed a hat-trick and young defender Harry Souttar struck in his international debut as Graham Arnold's Socceroos stayed perfect in this campaign. The result, coupled with Jordan’s goalless draw with Kuwait in the other match, saw Australia move clear with a two-point cushion at the top.

IR Iran moved clear at the top of Group C after thumping Cambodia 14-0 at home. Indeed, Marc Wilmots' side showed the visitors no mercy. Star striker Karim Ansarifard scored four times and Sardar Azmoun completed a hat-trick as they produced the matchday's biggest win. In the other match, Iraq registered their first win by defeating visiting Hong Kong 2-0 to move to second place level with Bahrain on points.

In Group D, both Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan bounced back to win at home respectively as they put their campaigns back on track. The former beat Singapore 3-0 to move to the top of the section and the latter swept past Yemen 5-0 to register their first win under new boss Vadim Abramov.

Group E front-runners Qatar cemented their place at the top by overcoming hosts Bangladesh 2-0. Forwards Yusuf Abdurisag and Karim Boudiaf scored in each half as the visitors got past the resilient home side. Oman, meanwhile, defeated Afghanistan 3-0 at home to maintain pressure on the Qataris, trailing by merely a point.

Group F favourites Japan followed up their 2-0 opening win over Myanmar with a 6-0 resounding victory against Mongolia at home. Goals from six different players, including Daichi Kamada, gave Hajime Moriyasu's side a second consecutive win. The result moved the Samurai Blue to the top of the table level with Tajikistan on points. In the section’s other match, Edgar Bernhardt scored a hat-trick as Kyrgyz Republic hammered Myanmar 7-0 at home for their first win in this campaign, and significantly, their biggest ever victory in international competition.

In Group G, United Arab Emirates leapfrogged Thailand to the top of the table by defeating Indonesia 5-0 at home, with ace striker Ali Mabkhout completing a hat-trick. In the other match, Nguyen Quang Hai struck the only goal as Vietnam defeated Malaysia 1-0 at home for their first win in this campaign.

In Group H, towering forward Kim Shinwook struck four times and captain Son Heungmin completed a brace as Korea Republic ran out 8-0 victors against Sri Lanka. The win moved the Taeguk Warriors level with Korea DPR on points at the top, making the two sides’ crunch tie in five days a mouthwatering one. The group’s other match saw Lebanon clinch their first win, defeating Turkmenistan 2-1.

Did you know?

While IR Iran's 14-0 victory stood out as the biggest of the matchday, the double-digit scoreline paled in comparison to their 19-0 victory against Guam in a qualifier for Korea/Japan 2002, which remains as Team Melli's all-time biggest win.