Mongolia notched up a surprise 1-0 win over Myanmar while Malaysia twice came from behind to defeat Indonesia 3-2 in stoppage time 3-2 as the second round of Asia’s qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup finals kicked off on Thursday.
Aramaa Dulguun scored a well-taken strike to earn Mongolia a victory in their first-ever appearance in this stage of World Cup qualifying.
But the most dramatic action came in Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium where Indonesia took an early lead against bitter regional rivals Malaysia when Beto slipped the ball under goalkeeper Farizal Marlias 12 minutes into the game.
Ghana-born midfielder Mohamadou Sumareh levelled shortly before the break with his first involvement after coming off the bench, only for Beto to restore Indonesia’s lead two minutes later with a fine strike from outside the area.
Syafiq Ahmad restored parity midway through the half with a deft header and the game looked to be heading for a draw until Sumareh hit the roof of the net from six yards out seven minutes into stoppage time.
The result means Malaysia lead the early standings in Group G, ahead of Thailand and Vietnam, who played out a goalless draw in Pathum Thani.
Jordan took all three points from their Group B encounter away against Chinese Taipei, with Baha Faisal and Ahmed Samir giving Vital Bourkelmans’ side a two-goal lead at halftime before Wen Chih-hao claimed a late consolation.
“I was coming to Taipei to take the three points and we did it,” said Bourkelmans.
“Also the performance in the first half was clear and if it had been 3-0 or 4-0 nobody can talk.”
Syria came from a goal behind to thrash the Philippines 5-2 in Group A while the Maldives also picked up three points with a 1-0 win away against Guam.
In Group C, Hong Kong were held to a 1-1 draw in Cambodia and in Group E Oman secured a 2-1 win over India.
Mongolia are joined in pole position in Group F by Tajikistan, who beat Central Asian neighbours Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in Dushanbe courtesy of a goal from Alisher Dzhalilov.
Palestine pulled off an upset with a 2-0 win over heavily fancied Uzbekistan in Group D, while Singapore drew 2-2 with Yemen.
North Korea made a winning start in Group H with former Asian Young Player of the Year Jong Il Gwan scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Lebanon as Turkmenistan picked up a 2-0 victory over Sri Lanka.
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