Iran and South Korea lead Qatar 2022 qualifying, Saudis unbeaten

October 13 – After a tight and tense fourth round of matches in the Asian Qualifiers for Qatar 2022, Iran cemented their lead in Group A with a draw against nearest challengers South Korea in Tehran.

Son Heung-min scored first in the 48th minute and it looked like the Koreans would take all three points until an Iranian revival which culminated in an Alireza Jahanbakhsh equaliser.

Iran head coach Dragan Skoćić was unhappy with dropping points but acknowledged the quality of the South Korean team that were always dangerous.

The Iranians top the group with 10 points while the Koreans follow with eight. The gap to third placed Lebanon is now three points. The Lebanese beat Syria 3-2 away, leaving Syria at the bottom of the group.

In the other group game Iraq and the UAE drew 2-2. Iran face Lebanon and Syria away from home in the November international window, while South Korea face Iraq and the UAE. Both will be hoping for two wins that would virtually guarantee their Qatar 2022 qualification.

In the AFC qualifiers, only the top two teams in the groups qualify automatically, with the third place teams playing off for the intercontinental play off.

Saudis extend lead

In Group B Saudi Arabia extended their run to four unbeaten games and took three point lead after a hard fought 3-2 win over China, a result that pretty much ends Chinese hopes of qualification.

Saudi now have a three point of advantage over Australia who lost to a rejuvenated Japan. Japan are level on six points with Oman who overcame Vietnam 3-1.

In the November international window Saudi travel to Australia and Vietnam while Australia are also away to China. Japan are away to Oman and Vietnam.

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