SEOUL, South Korea
(Dispatches) - Australia edged Vietnam 1-0 in Hanoi on Tuesday to make it two wins out of two in Group B of Asia In Group A, South Korea defeated Lebanon 1-0 at Suwon World Cup Stadium to pick up its first win of the stage, after 0-0 against Iraq five days earlier.
Rhyan Grant ran to the far post to steer in a header after 43 minutes in an empty My Dinh Stadium. His first international goal kept the Socceroos on track for a fifth successive World Cup appearance.
Vietnam is making its first appearance at this stage of qualifying but had chances, including a VAR review for a possible penalty against Grant’s handball before the visitors took the lead.
World Cup qualifying, but China’s campaign was teetering after a second consecutive defeat.
In humid conditions and on a difficult playing surface, Vietnam pushed for a point but couldn’t find a way past Mat Ryan in the Australia goal. Mitchell Duke looked to have sealed the win with a low shot four minutes from the end but the goal was ruled offside.
It was Australia’s 10th win in a row and Football Australia said in a statement that the Socceroos became the first country in the Asian Football Confederation to achieve such a winning streak in one qualification campaign.
It said Australia had shared the mark of nine with Uzbekistan and South Korea, both countries while qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Yuya Osako’s first-half goal helped Japan beat China 1-0 in the final round of the FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers.
China came into the game on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Australia, while Japan was stunned by Oman 1-0 in its opener of the final qualifying round. Both teams were eager to get their qualification campaign back on track.
Facing Japan, the highest FIFA ranked team in Asia, Chinese head coach Li Tie fielded five defenders in the starting line-up. But they suffered an early setback as veteran center back Zhang Linpeng had to be stretched out just five minutes into play due to a waist injury and Zhu Chenjie filled his place.