Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman and United Arab Emirates have all consolidated their chances of reaching the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman and United Arab Emirates have all consolidated their chances of reaching the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia but China and Iraq are struggling.
Iran-s 2-1 home victory over Thailand kept the World Cup finalist on top of Group B as nine matches on Tuesday (early Wednesday AEDT) brought the qualifying campaign to the halfway stage.
Three times Asian champion Saudi Arabia maintained its perfect record on top of Group C with a 2-0 victory over Iraq which leaves the 2007 champion second from bottom.
Iraq-s only blessing is that China, attempting to reach the finals for the 11th successive time, failed to take maximum points away to bottom-of-the-table Indonesia.
Chinese coach Fu Bo described the 1-1 draw as disappointing. “We came here to take three points,” he said after Indonesian captain Boaz Solossa-s sweet half-volley cancelled out Wu Xi-s lone goal for China.
China and Iraq are now likely to fight out the second guaranteed qualifying spot in the group when the qualifiers resume with two rounds in November ahead of the final round in March.
Paul Le Guen-s Oman maintained its two-point advantage at the top of Group A after holding second-placed Jordan to a goalless draw in Amman.
Singapore stunned Syria 2-1 to climb off the bottom in the group-s other encounter.
Lebanon kept its hopes alive with a 1-1 draw against Kuwait in Beirut.
An Ali Mabkhout hat-trick spearheaded a 4-0 win in Hong Kong that maintained UAE-s perfect record in Group E while debutants Sardor Rashidov and Eldorbek Suyunov proved the inspiration in former finalist Uzbekistan-s 3-1 victory over Vietnam.
Four teams - host Australia, defending champion Japan, South Korea and Korea DPR - have already qualified for the Asian Cup to be held in January 2015 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle, with 12 other spots still up for grabs.