thumbnail Hello,

Javad Nekounam inspired Team Melli to the perfect start in Tehran, while Frank Rijkaard's Green Falcons fired a blank against Ali Al Habsi's Oman in Muscat

Friday marked the beginning of the third round of 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers through the Asian Football Confederation, with 10 matches in total played across the continent.

The introduction of regional heavyweights Japan, Australia and South Korea stole the headlines but there were plenty of interesting results elsewhere.

Carlos Queiroz's Iran got off to a good start at home to Indonesia, along with China new boss Jose Antonio Camacho, while Paul Le Guen and Frank Rijkaard shared the spoils in West Asia.

GROUP A | Iraq 0-2 Jordan
Asian Cup quarter-finalists Jordan got off to the best possible start in their World Cup qualifying campaign with a fine 2-0 win over Iraq in Arbil. It was a disastrous start for new Iraq coach Zico, as Jordan impressed to take the group lead.

Both goals came minutes either side of half-time, with midfield maestro Hassan Abdel Fattah sliding in at the far post to put Jordan ahead on 44 minutes. Straight after the break Jordan doubled their advantage when Abdullah Deeb showed poise in the box to lash the ball home after his initial effort was saved.
GROUP A | China 2-1 Singapore
Singapore surprisingly went ahead in Kunming on 33 minutes when striker Aleksandar Duric struck but new China coach Jose Antonio Camacho proved his worth in the second-half with a change of tactics which saw his side complete the comback.

On 69 minutes China earned a penalty which was successfully converted by Zheng Zhi to get back on level terms. China then increased the intensity of their attacking side and the Chinese Super League Player of the Year, Yu Hai, struck four minutes later.
GROUP B | UAE 2-3 Kuwait

Kuwait claimed a useful win in Al Ain in their opening fixture, as they raced to a three-goal lead, before UAE rallied late with two goals in the final 10 minutes to ensure a tense finale.

Yousef Al Sulaiman put Kuwait ahead with a deflected sixth-minute effort, before Bader Al Mutwa blasted in a stunning long-range effort on 51 minutes. Al Sulaiman swooped on a defensive error to make it 3-0 on 66 minutes before the hosts rallied.

Ismaeel Al Hammadi drilled in a low shot to pull one back on 84 minutes and when 2008 AFC Young Player of the Year Ahmed Khalil powered in a header with a minute to play, the crowd got to their feet but there was to be no equaliser for the hosts.


GROUP C | Tajikistan 0-1 Uzbekistan
Tajikistan, who only qualified for this stage as a replacement for second round opponents Syria who were eliminated for fielding an ineligible player, hosted Central Asian neighbours Uzbekistan in Tursunzoda and showed great commitment.

The hosts held out their highly-fancied opponents for over 70 minutes, before 33-year-old striker Maksim Shatskikh broke the deadlock for Uzbekistan. There would be no reply for Tajikistan and it was the perfect start for the hopeful Uzbeks.
  
GROUP D | Oman 0-0 Saudi Arabia
Paul Le Guen's Oman and Frank Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia cancelled each other out in Muscat as the two West Asian nations played out a goalless draw.

It was a stuttering start to the campaign for the Green Falcons, who departed the Asian Cup earlier this year without a point. The Saudi Arabians had brushed aside Hong Kong 8-0 in the second round, but strikers Yasser Al Qahtani and Nasser Al Shamrani couldn't find a way past Oman's Premier League keeper Ali Al Habsi.
GROUP E | Iran 3-0 Indonesia
Indonesia produced a good performance in the first half but were blown away by three second-half goals margin from Iran. Carlos Queiroz's side proved more dangerous throughout the contest and eventually got their reward in the second stanza.

Team Melli started the second half with showed more attacking football to Indonesia defence and Javad Nekounam headed in the first goal after 53 minutes. Twenty minutes later Nekounam doubled their advantage, heading in again.

After 88 minutes, Indonesia conceded again thanks to a beautiful goal from former Bolton and Fulham midfielder Andranik Teymourian who scored from the outside of the penalty box. 
GROUP E | Bahrain 0-0 Qatar
Peter Taylor's Bahrain started off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a disappointing goalless draw at home to Qatar.

Bahrain, who have fallen at the inter-confederation playoff in the past two World Cup qualifying stages, failed to get the start they wanted as Qatar claimed a handy away point.

Related