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AFC 2014 World Cup qualifying round-up: Key wins for Uzbekistan, Qatar

Goal.com takes you around the latest matches in the fourth round of AFC 2014 World Cup qualification, with several nations doing their hopes plenty of good

GOAL.com Indonesia   By PADDY HIGGS and DAN ORLOWITZ


GROUP A


Japan took a giant leap toward 2014 World Cup qualification with a 2-1 win at Oman. Hiroshi Kiyotake scored his first international goal in the 20th minute, and Japan held the lead with confidence until a series of defensive miscues allowed midfielder Ahmed Kano to equalise. The goal inspired the 28,000-strong crowd at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat to find their voice at long last, but they were quickly silenced at the stroke of full time by Shinji Okazaki's miraculous strike.

Jordan were dealt a heavy blow toward their qualifying hopes after a 1-0 defeat at Iraq. The visitors were denied at several points throughout the match, forcing Iraqi goalkeeper Noor Sabri to make several great saves. With minutes remaining, striker Ahmed Hammadi scored the lone goal of the match from the edge of the penalty area, before Sabri locked up the match with a double-save that denied Jordan's Hamza Al Dardour of what should have been a sure goal.

The twin results leave Japan nearly three lengths ahead of their Group B rivals with 13 points from five matches and just one more point needed to qualify for Brazil. Jordan, on the other hand, have just four points at the foot of the group and would now require a miracle to qualify for the 2014 tournament. The deciding blow could come as early as March 26, when Jordan host Japan.
GROUP B


Uzbekistan
's dreams of making their first World Cup finals are a step closer after they shocked Iran1-0 in Tehran on Wednesday.  Ulugbek Bakaev struck the decisive goal for the visitors, converting a free kick from captain Server Djeparov on 72 minutes.  The hosts - previously second in Group A - were underwhelming in the damp conditions, failing to build on from a handful of early chances as Uzbekistan won the battle in midfield.  Occasionally bad-tempered, the game could have been settled by Sanjar Tursunov soon after Bakaev's goal, but his deflected effort went just wide of the post.  There was time enough for Iran substitute Karim Ansarifard to go close to an equalizer, but it was the visitors who left with the three points.

In Doha, star man Sebastian Soria's lone goal helped Qatar to a 1-0 victory over Lebanon, fanning hope of a World Cup place yet.  In a match of few highlights, Soria's 75th-minute goal stood out.  Having taken possession from the half-way line, the Uruguayan-born forward furrowed a path towards goal before firing in from 30 metres.  Roda Antar's attempt at a late equalizer was thwarted by alert Qatar goalkeeper Qasem Burhan, with the hosts' coach Paulo Autuori praising his side for a "good performance" after a flat first half.

The results move Uzbekistan to top of Group B with eight points, though South Korea are just a point back with a game in hand.  Iran slip to third, while Qatar join them and South Korea on seven points.  Lebanon face a battle to keep their World Cup dreams alive, lying bottom on four points.

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