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Rediff.com  » Sports » WC qualifiers: Lebanon shock South Korea, Iraq advances

WC qualifiers: Lebanon shock South Korea, Iraq advances

November 16, 2011 10:44 IST

Lebanon produced a stunning performance to beat South Korea 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday to keep their fairytale campaign going, while Alberto Zaccheroni's unbeaten run as Japan coach ended in North Korea with a 1-0 defeat.

Elsewhere, Australia beat Thailand 1-0 in Bangkok to reach the fourth round along with Iraq, who ended Jordan's 100 percent record in Group A with a 3-1 away win, and Iran who thumped Indonesia 4-1.

Lebanon's Bilal al-Sheikh Najjarine celebrates after his team beat South Korea in their 2014 World Cup qualifierIn Beirut, South Korea were heavy favourites to get the win they needed to take one of the 10 fourth round places in Asian qualifiers, but they struggled badly against a side they had outclassed 6-0 at home in September.

Abas Atwi scored the winning goal from the penalty spot in the 31st minute to send 40,000 Lebanese fans at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium into party mood and the team level on points with Korea at the top of Group B.

South Korea coach Cho Kwang-rae blamed the bumpy, hard pitch and the referee after the poor display by his side who can qualify with a point at home to Kuwait in their final match in February.

To compound the defeat, their arch-rivals North Korea were celebrating after they beat Asian champions Japan 1-0 in a fiery clash in Pyongyang thanks to a 50th-minute header by Pak Nam-chol.

Japan were already through to the next round and the Koreans out but the Group C game was heated and filled with tough tackles, numerous bookings and a red card for the home side's Jong Il-gwan in the second half.

Lebanon's Ramez Dayoub cries after his team beat South Korea in their 2014 World Cup qualifier"They played a tough, physical game in circumstances that were very difficult for us," Italian Zaccheroni said.

"They were determined for this match after having failed to qualify for the next round. A victory over Japan was exactly what they needed to overcome their disappointment."

Uzbekistan now lead Group C after they comfortably beat Tajikistan 3-0.

WELL ENOUGH

Australia can count themselves fortunate to be in the fourth round with a game to spare after a stuttering display in beating a wasteful Thai side.

Brett Holman headed a late winner but only after pacy winger Suree Sukha had spurned two good opportunities to score.

"I want to know why you say fortunate," Socceroos coach Holger Osieck snapped at an Australian reporter. "They missed their chances and we played well enough to win."

Thailand are not out of contention after Saudi Arabia failed to get the win they needed at home to Oman to seal the runners-up spot.

The 0-0 draw in Riyadh left the Saudis on six points ahead of their trip to Australia with Oman third on five and Thailand last on four. Oman host Thailand in their final Group D match in February.

Former Asian champions Iraq reached the fourth round thanks to two goals from Nashat Akram which ended China's slim hopes of advancing despite a crushing 4-0 away win over Singapore.

Iraq, coached by Brazilian great Zico, have 12 points in Group A, level with Jordan who booked their fourth round place on Friday.

Their near neighbours and rivals Iran made it through to the fourth round after three goals in the opening 24 minutes set up a 4-1 victory over an experimental Indonesian side in Jakarta.

Iran's passage from Group E was secured when 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar were held to a goalless draw by gulf rivals Bahrain at the air-conditioned Al Sadd Stadium in Doha.

Source:
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