- Kuwait and Qatar win big at home
- Mongolia seal a history-making victory
- Palestine stun Uzbekistan
Underdogs stole the show in Asia’s opening matchday of the second qualifying round for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ with the likes of Palestine and Mongolia pulling off surprise wins against Uzbekistan and Myanmar respectively.
Elsewhere, the gap in class that exists between the continent’s big boys and lower-ranked sides remained, with both Qatar and Kuwait cruising to lopsided wins against Afghanistan and Nepal. Join FIFA.com as we review the action from around Asia.
Indonesia 2-3 Malaysia
Goals: Beto Goncalves 11′, 38′; Mohamadou Sumareh 36′, 90’+6, Syafiq Ahmad 65′
It’s always a fiercely-contested match whenever these two sides cross paths. Having played against each other over 100 times in all competitions across more than six decades, the rivalry between Indonesia and Malaysia is one of Asia’s biggest regional derbies. Both teams entered this re-meeting all too aware of what the occasion would be like.
Cheered on by their home crowd, hosts Indonesia pressed hard and twice took the lead through Beto Goncalves in the first half. Malaysia then came from behind to draw themselves level; firstly Mohamadou Sumareh struck in the 36th minute to cancel out Goncalves’ early goal before Syafiq Ahmad restored the parity with a 65th-minute strike. With so much at stake, it was Sumareh who grabbed the match-winner with his second deep into the stoppage time.
With Thailand and Vietnam playing out a goalless draw in Rangsit, Malaysia are currently sitting at the top of Group G and thus head in to their next outing against United Arab Emirates at home five days later in winning form.
The other attractions
In Group A, Syria came from behind to rout hosts Philippines 5-2 to get their campaign off to a brilliant start. Omar Al Soma struck a brace and Khaled Mobayed, Firas Al Mahmoud and Al Nawas Khatib were also on target as the Syrians won in style. In the group’s other match, Ibrahim Mahudhee Hussain scored the only goal as visiting Maldives registered an opening victory in Guam.
In Group B, Baha Faisal and Ahmad Sameer struck in the first half as Jordan overcame resilient hosts Chinese Taipei by 2-1 in rainy conditions. In the group’s other match, hosts Kuwait showed no mercy by dismantling Nepal 7-0 for the matchday’s biggest win.
The honours were even in Group C with Bahrain and Cambodia drawing against Iraq and Hong Kong respectively, both a 1-1 scoreline. The Bahrainis missed out on three points by conceding a late goal but the Cambodians came from behind to register their first-ever point against Hong Kong.
Group D’s Palestine produced the opening matchday’s biggest surprise by stunning Uzbekistan 2-0 at home. Young striker Oday Dabbagh broke the deadlock on the hour-mark before Islam Batran sealed the unlikely win five minutes from time. The group’s other match saw Singapore draw Yemen 2-2 at home in a seesaw battle.
Qatar underlined their place as the favourites of Group E by firing six unanswered goals past Afghanistan at home, with the on-song striker Almoez Ali completing a treble. In the other match, a quick-fire two goals by Rabia Al Mandhar in the later stages saw Oman come from behind to sink hosts India 2-1.
In Group F, having progressed to the second stage for the first time, debutants Mongolia continued their history-making run by edging a ten-man Myanmar 1-0 at home. Aramaa Dulguun was the hero, scoring the match-winning goal by latching onto Narmandakh Artag’s perfect pass to hand the hosts the opening victory in their first second-phase campaign. Elsewhere, a first-half strike from Alisher Dzhalilov was enough to see Tajikistan win at home against Kyrgyz Republic.
In Group H, captain Jong Ilgwan struck in each half as Korea DPR defeated Lebanon 2-0 at home. Turkmenistan outmuscled hosts Sri Lanka by the identical scoreline in the group’s other match, courtesy of goals from Wahit Orazsahedow and captain Arslanmyrat Amanow.
Did you know?
Joining the Indonesia national team just last year, 38-year-old Beto Goncalves has since maintained a phenomenal goal-scoring rate. He has racked up ten goals in ten international appearances, including scoring the brace against Malaysia.