Skip to main content
Main content

Japan score last-gasp goal to beat Iraq

More Russia 2018 News

Japan's Hotaru Yamaguchi scored five minutes into stoppage time at Saitama Stadium to secure a 2-1 win over Iraq in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

The victory on Thursday gave them six points from three games, along with United Arab Emirates, but Saudi Arabia and Australia moved ahead of them with seven points in Group B, staying unbeaten after a 2-2 draw in Jeddah.

Australia are top on goal difference.

Japan made a disappointing start to the final stage of Asian qualifying with a 2-1 home defeat by the United Arab Emirates last month before victories over Thailand and the Iraqis.

They took the lead in the 26th minute through Genki Haraguchi who capped a flowing counter attack with a sublime back-heel finish through his own legs from Hiroshi Kiyotake's near-post cross.

Iraq levelled when Saad Luaibi rose highest to nod home Ahmed Yaseen's free kick with an hour gone.

Japan piled forward in the closing stages in search of the winner and were rewarded when Yamaguchi hammered home a loose ball.

South Korea's Son Heung-min can't seem to do anything wrong.

Son came to his country's rescue when he scored the winner against Qatar.

The South Koreans looked set to lose for the first time in 11 qualifying matches when they trailed Qatar 2-1 at halftime.

Then Ji Dong-won equalised in the 56th minute, and two minutes later Son separated from his marker and curled his shot in.

He celebrated with a dab, to more cheers from the home crowd in Suwon. It was his sixth goal in seven appearances for South Korea and Tottenham this season.

"The important thing is to win and we did that,'' Son said.

"After Qatar scored, we regrouped, kept our focus and came back.''

Son missed South Korea's last qualifier, a goal-less draw in Syria, but has his side second in Group A, behind Iran on goal difference after three of 10 matches.

Mahmoud Al Mawas scored the only goal in the second half against China for Syria's first win in Group A, in Xian.

China, meanwhile, remained winless.

Iran moved into first place in Group A with a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan.

In Abu Dhabi, two goals from Ali Mabkhout gave the United Arab Emirates a second win in three Group B games after a 3-1 victory over Thailand.

Tana Chanabut pulled one back for Thailand but Ahmed Khalil sealed the host's win in injury time.

The top two in Group A and B qualify for the World Cup in Russia while the third-placed teams meet to decide who goes into a CONCACAF-Asian Zone playoff for a place at the finals.

AAP©2016 AAP