Japan was held to a surprising goalless draw by visiting Singapore while Guam pulled off only its second World Cup qualifying win when it beat India 2-1 on Tuesday.
And Son Heung-min confirmed his status as one of the biggest stars in Asian football by inspiring South Korea to a 2-0 win over Myanmar.
Japan dominated at Saitama Stadium but couldn’t find a way to beat Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Bin Mahbud. One of Bin Mahbud’s best saves was when he swatted away Shinji Okazaki’s header just before it crossed the line, 10 minutes after halftime.
Moments later, the Singapore ‘keeper dived to his left to get a hand on a Keisuke Honda header.
Singapore, which is 154th in the world rankings, leads Asia Group E early with four points. Japan, bidding for its sixth straight World Cup berth, has one.
On Tuesday, Brandon McDonald put host Guam ahead of India in the 38th minute in Tamuning, and Travis Nicklaw doubled the advantage in the 62nd. Sunil Chhetri pulled one back for the visitors in stoppage time.
Turkmenistan held Iran to 1-1 in Tashkent in the other Group D match.
Serdar Azmoun put Iran ahead after four minutes, cutting in from the left flank and slotting the ball past goalkeeper Nikita Gorbunov, but Turkmenistan leveled in first-half stoppage time against the run of play when Ruslan Mingazov scored.
In Bangkok, where Myanmar was ordered to host South Korea following recent crowd violence in Yangon, a corner by Son was headed home by Lee Jae-sung 10 minutes before the break, then Son fired home a long-range free kick in the second half to seal a comfortable win.
Myanmar rarely threatened South Korea, which sits on top of Group G after one game.
“If you look at the scoreline then you may think there was not a big difference between the teams,” South Korea coach and former West German midfielder Uli Stielike said. “However, we dominated possession and had few problems at the back.”
Afghanistan rebounded from a 6-0 loss from Syria by edging Cambodia 1-0 with a goal in the 86th minute from Mustafa Zazai in Phnom Penh in Group E.
North Korea scored four first-half goals en route to a 4-2 win over Uzbekistan to top Group H with its second win. In another Group H match, the Philippines beat Yemen 2-0 in a match played at Doha, Qatar.
Omar Abdulrahman scored with 10 minutes to go for United Arab Emirates to beat East Timor 1-0, and lead Group A. Palestine beat Malaysia 6-0 at Kuala Lumpur in another Group A match.
Captain Mile Jedinak scored in the second minute to set Asian champion Australia on its way to a 2-1 win over Kyrgyzstan in its opening match in Group B. The Crystal Palace midfielder curled a free kick over the defensive wall from 25 yards (meters) and the ball landed in front of the goalkeeper before bouncing sharply into the roof of the net.
Bangladesh and Tajikistan picked up their first points in Group B with a 1-1 draw at Dhaka. Jahid Hasan opened the scoring for Bangladesh in the 50th, but Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev netted the equalizer two minutes from fulltime.
Hong Kong won its second consecutive match to take the lead in Group C with a 2-0 home win over the Maldives, while China opened its qualifying campaign with a 6-0 away win over Bhutan.
Thailand moved on top of Group F with its second victory as Teerasil Dangda scored both first-half goals in 2-0 win over Taiwan at Taipei.
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