Singapore were the only AFF nation to post a win with Indonesia and Malaysia holding out for a draw in home matches, while Vietnam and Thailand lostIt was an encouraging night for Southeast Asian teams participating in the AFC Asian Cup 2015 Qualifiers on Wednesday.
2012 AFF Suzuki Cup Champions Singapore led the way by registering an impressive 2-1 win over 2012 WAFF Championship winners Syria at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Goals from Khairul Amri and Gabriel Quak had the home side racing to a 2-0 lead before Raja Rafe reduced the deficit with one minute of regulation time to be played. The results marked Singapore's first points and goals in the competition and moved them up to third.
Neighbours Malaysia also had something to shout about as they held Bahrain 1-1 after Norshahrul Idlan Talaha grabbed a 70th minute equaliser following Saleh Abdul Hameed's opener five minutes before the half-time break.
Indonesia played hosts to China in Group C and similarly recorded a 1-1 draw after falling behind in the first-half to Wu Xi's opener. Indonesian captain Boaz Solossa grabbed an equaliser on 67 minutes to ensure the home side received their first point of the campaign.
Iran overcame Thailand 2-1 in Tehran to strengthen their hold on top spot in Group B but were made to work hard by a resilient Thai defence. Jalal Hosseini finally broke the deadlock for the home side in the 67th minute before Reza Ghoochannejhad added a second three minutes later. Iran passed on several chances to increase their lead and were almost made to pay to after Teerasil Dangda powered home on 80 minutes. Iran held on, however, to move two points ahead of Kuwait.
Vietnam who had managed to hold Uzbekistan at home in the opening rounds of the qualifiers failed to repeat their feat at the Pakhtakor Stadium, going down 3-1. A determined performance and some good fortune, following two disallowed goals for the home side, meant Vietnam too only conceded in the second-half when debutant Sardor Rashidov opened the scoring. Au Van Hoan converted an own goal to make it 2-0 before Nguyen Trong Hoang reduced the deficit on 76 minutes. Igor Sergeev made it a comfortable 3-1 deep into injury time to move his side to second in Group E.
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SINGAPORE 2-1 SYRIA
JORDAN 0-0 OMAN
LEBANON 1-1 KUWAIT
IRAN 2-1 THAILAND
INDONESIA 1-1 CHINA
IRAQ 0-2 SAUDIA ARABIA
MALAYSIA 1-1 BAHRAIN
HONG KONG 0-4 UAE
UZBEKISTAN 3-1 VIETNAM