Japan, Qatar get wins in qualifying
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)
Oman 1, Japan 2
Striker Shinji Okazaki scored a late winner Wednesday as Japan beat Oman 2-1 to move closer to clinching a spot in the 2014 World Cup, while Iraq revived its campaign with a 1-0 victory against Jordan.
Group A was thrown wide open after Uzbekistan beat Iran 1-0 to go top. Qatar beat Lebanon 1-0 to join Iran and South Korea as only a point behind, although the Koreans didn't play and have a game in hand.
With Oman pressing, Japan went on the counterattack and Gotoku Sakai's cross into the area deflected off Yasuhito Endo and landed into the path of Okazaki, who scored in the 89th minute.
Japan leads Group B in Asian qualifying by eight points over Australia, Jordan and Oman and is on the verge of reaching its fifth World Cup with three matches remaining.
Qatar 1, Lebanon 0
A long-range strike from Uruguayan-born striker Sebastian Suria helped Qatar beat Lebanon 1-0 Wednesday in an Asian World Cup qualifier that boosted its chances of booking a spot in Brazil.
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Suria took a pass from Fabio Cesar and fired the ball from 20 meters (yards) outside the area, sending it curling past Lebanon keeper Abbas Hassan. The goal set off raucous celebrations among the home supporters, who are desperate for a good showing after Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. The win moved Qatar into a second in Group A alongside South Korea and Australia and a point behind leader Uzbekistan.
Iraq 1, Jordon 0
Iraq revived its bid to reach the 2014 World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Jordan in a qualifier on Wednesday.
Ahmed Hammadi netted the winner with a blistering shot from outside the area in the 86th minute. The win was the first for Iraq in this stage of the competition and moves it level with Australia and Oman for the second qualifying spot in Group B. Iraq plays its matches in Doha due to security concerns at home.
The loss for Jordan leaves it bottom of the table in Group B, nine points behind leader Japan.
Iran 0, Uzbekistan 1
Uzbekistan beat Iran 1-0 in an Asian World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, throwing open Group A where four teams are now within a point of the top spot.
Striker Ulugbek Bakaev got hold of a curling free kick from Server Djepararov to score the winner in the 71st minute. The win sends Uzbekistan to the top of Group A, a point ahead of South Korea, Iran and Qatar. South Korea did not play Wednesday.