[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING]
Australia, Japan and South Korea all took a huge step towards qualifying for South Africa 2010 by posting important road wins
in Wednesday's fourth round of group games in Asia's final qualifying phase. In the other game, Iran picked up a useful point at the united Arab Emirates. GROUP ONE
Australia scored in stoppage time in Bahrain when a Marco Bresciano
goal against the run of play gave the visitors a 1-0 victory.
Australian coach Pim Verbeek
admitted that his side was lucky to take all the points and preserve its 100 percent record in the group.
"Bahrain played very well and we didn't but we were lucky to get these three points," said Verbeek. "We didn't deserve it. We would have been happy with one point. It was a top game but we never
really had any control over this game."
Bahrain's Czech coach Milan Macala
called it "a good game. But the most important thing in soccer is
scoring goals. We did not score while the Australians did. We had five to seven good moments to score. I really cannot explain what happened in the last two minutes. We played with very good spirit
but without luck."
In the group's other game, Japan made light work of host Qatar in a 3-0 win on goals from Tatsuya Tanaka
, Keiji Tamada
and Marcus Tulio Tanaka
. The results put Australia and Japan well clear of third-placed Qatar, which has played
one game more than the other four teams in the group. SCOREBOARD
Bahrain 0 Australia 1
Qatar 0 Japan 3 Standings:
Australia (9 points), Japan (7), Qatar (4), Bahrain (1), Uzbekistan (1) GROUP TWO
South Korea beat Saudi Arabia
for the first time in 19 years to go two points clear at the top of Group Two. The Koreans won, 2-0, in Riyadh thanks to late goals from Lee Keun Ho
Park Chu Young,
and created the majority of the clear-cut chances in a very poor game.
The game's turning point, however, came in the 58th
minute when Saudi striker Naif Hazazi
was given a second yellow card for diving. Hazazi was through on goal when he took the ball to the left of Korean
keeper Lee Woon Jae
, who clipped Hazazi's heel as he went past. It was a tough call for the referee Abdul Malik
-- Hazazi looked as though he was already going down before Lee made contact, but replays showed that he was definitely tripped. Instead of being awarded a penalty that could have out
it 1-0 ahead, the home team was suddenly down to 10 men with the scores still level.
In the group's other game, Karim Bagheri
equalizer for Iran in the 81st minute, after Abdulraheem Jumaa
had given the UAE a first-half lead. It was the UAE's first point in the four games it has
played so far, while unbeaten South Korea and Iran occupy the group's top two spots. SCOREBOARD
United Arab Emirates 1 Iran 1
Arabia 0 South Korea 2 Standings:
South Korea (7 points), Iran (5), Saudi Arabia (4), North Korea (4), United Arab Emirates (1). Format: The top two teams from each group will qualify directly for South Africa 2010. The third-placed teams
from each group will play a home-and-away playoff, with the winner advancing to the inter-confederation playoff with Oceania winner New Zealand. [INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] Diego Maradona
won his first game in charge of Argentina, a 1-0 exhibition win in Scotland. England beat Germany
2-1 in Berlin thanks to a flying header from captain John Terry