Iran start with crushing win

Iran have thumped Singapore 6-0 in their opening Group E clash of the 2011 Asian Cup qualifiers. Syria defeated China while ASEAN champions Vietnam downed Lebanon.

Singapore had frustrated the hosts for much of the first half but were dealt a blow when Ismail Yunos was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Reza Khalatbari six minutes before the break.

Majid Gholamnejad opened the scoring three minutes later before Iran added a further two goals shortly after the restart through Karim Bagheri and Gholamreza Rezaei.

Maziar Zareh added a fourth for his side in the 79th minute before substitute Mohamad Nouri scored twice in two minutes late on to wrap up the win for Iran.

The victory was Ali Daei's biggest since taking charge of Iran eight months ago.

In the group's other game, Thailand shared a goalless draw with hosts Jordan at Amman International Stadium.

Jordan controlled the early stages of the game and were the first to create a chance on goal in the 13th minute when Abdelhadi Al Maharmeh sent an effort from distance over the crossbar just one minute before his close-range shot was saved by Thailand goalkeeper Kosin Hathairattanakool.

Thailand, though, had the best chance in the first half when Suchao Nutnum launched a quick counter-attack and beat Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi only to see his effort hit the left upright after 28 minutes.

Thailand went close again after 56 minutes when Chonlatit Jantakam sent a cross from the left that was headed over the bar by Nutnum.

Jordan battled hard to snatch a late winner as Al'a Matalka sent a cross from the left that was headed wide by Amer Deeb while Al Saify's shot went past the right post in the fourth minute of stoppage-time.

ASEAN champions Vietnam kicked off their qualifying campaign with a 3-1 Group D victory over Lebanon at the My Dinh National Stadium.

Nguyen Minh Phuong opened the scoring early on and Le Cong Vinh grabbed a second after 30 minutes to ensure Vietnam reached the break with a two-goal lead.

Cong Vinh then picked up his second yellow card of the game in the 59th minute to receive his marching orders and make the hosts' task of maintaining their lead a difficult one.

However, Vietnam ensured there would be no fightback from Lebanon when Nguyen Vu Phong added a third before Akram Moghrabi snatched a consolation goal for Lebanon.

In the group's other game, Syria held off a second-half fightback from China to secure a 3-2 win at Aleppo International stadium.

Syria took the lead after just six minutes through Maher Al Sayed's penalty before he added a second in the 24th minute.

Syria increased their lead when Firas Al Khatib scored from the penalty spot in the 39th minute to put the hosts into a three-goal lead at the break.

But China pulled a goal back six minutes into the second half through substitute striker Qu Bo before fellow substitute Liu Jian scored his side's second in the fourth minute of stoppage-time but it was not enough to deny Syria the victory.

Source PRESS ASSOCIATION