Qatar smashed 15 unanswered goals past Bhutan and the United Arab Emirates knocked in 10 against Malaysia in a lopsided round of World Cup qualifiers across Asia on Thursday.
Kuwait eased to a 9-0 win over Myanmar, South Korea netted eight against lowly Laos and Asian champion Australia battered Bangladesh 5-0 as the continent’s elite made light work of the region’s plucky outsiders.
Japan again looked disjointed on attack but still overpowered an outclassed Cambodia in a 3-0 victory in Saitama, while former Asian champion Iraq kicked off its Group F campaign by downing Taiwan 5-1 in Teheran.
Only Hong Kong bucked the trend, holding China to a surprise scoreless draw in Shenzhen to stay unbeaten after three games in Group C.
Hong Kong is part of a group of weaker teams that has taken advantage of revamped Asian qualifying that has thrown it in with the continent’s best following a plea for more matches.
New Tottenham Hotspur signing Son Heung-min struck a hat-trick as perennial qualifier South Korea pounded Laos.
Australia, which beat the Koreans to win the Asian Cup in January, also had a straightforward night as it eased to victory over Bangladesh in Perth despite missing a number of regular starters.
Employing brilliant passing patterns, the Socceroos were up 4-0 in the first 29 minutes against a side that barely had a touch of the ball, while home goalkeeper Adam Federici was virtually redundant.
Hong Kong’s Jack Sealy (left) and China’s Jiang Zhipeng battle for the ball during their 2018 World Cup Asian qualifying match in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Thursday. The match ended in a scoreless draw. Color China Photo Via AP
(China Daily 09/05/2015 page11)