Australia, Uzbekistan, Oman win WCup qualifiers
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Australia scored twice late on to beat Iraq 2-1 and revive its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign Tuesday, while 10-man Iran beat South Korea 1-0 to move level on points with the Koreans in Group A.
Uzbekistan and Oman also earned much-needed victories. Uzbekistan downed 2022 World Cup host Qatar 1-0 and Oman beat Jordan 2-1.
In Doha, Iraq scored against the run of the play from a counterattack when Younis Mahmoud crossed for substitute Ala'a Abdulzehra to slot the ball past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in the 72nd minute.
Australia leveled when Tim Cahill rose above the defense eight minutes later to head the ball into the net from a corner. With a draw looking likely, Australia substitute Tom Oar crossed the ball into the box for unmarked substitute Archie Thompson to head home the 84th-minute winner.
"I'm really happy with the result as we managed to make a good comeback and got three points, which will put us back into contention," Australia coach Holger Osieck said. "The result proved that we can make it as the win against Iraq was important. We were lucky even though it only came in the closing minutes. We managed to score from the chances that we had unlike the last match against Jordan."
In Group B, Japan remains top with 10 points followed by Australia and Oman with five. Jordan has four points and Iraq is bottom with two.
"Our situation has become now very delicate as we are now in the last position in the group," Iraq coach Zico said. "However, there are still four matches to play and hopefully we can get back into competition in the remaining matches, although it will not be easy."
In Tehran, Iran captain Javad Nekounam's sent the 100,000 home fans into raptures when he scored a late winning goal.
Nekounam received the ball following a deflection from a free kick and slotted it into the net in the 75th minute. His goal came 20 minutes after Iran midfielder Masoud Shojaei was sent off after picking up his second yellow card.
The match started promisingly for the Iranians, with Reza Ghoochannejhad hitting a low drive from the edge of the box that forced goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong into a good save in the 20th minute.
But South Korea began to take charge of the match after a dead-ball delivery from Ki Sung-yueng caused problems for the Iranian defense. The midfielder swung in a free kick from the left that was headed over the crossbar in the 26th by an unmarked Kim Shin-wook.
Shortly afterward, Ki delivered a free kick from the other flank that caused confusion in the defense, ending with Kim Bo-kyung's header being touched onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati in the 29th.
After taking the lead, the Iranians weathered a flurry of shots from the South Koreans. The Koreans' best chance for an equalizer fell to Yun Suk-young, who curled the ball from outside the area just over the crossbar with five minutes remaining.
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