Japan thumps Afghanistan to maintain unbeaten record

Japan players celebrate in Iran (AAP) Source: EPA

Japan recorded a 6-0 win over Afghanistan to maintain its unbeaten record in AFC World Cup qualifying Group E.

Vahid Halilhodzic’s side beat Cambodia earlier this month, after a draw with Singapore on matchday one, and it built on that win at Azadi Stadium in Iran.

Shinji Kagawa and Masato Morishige sent Japan in at half-time with a 2-0 advantage, before the Borussia Dortmund attacker doubled his tally five minutes into the second period.

Shinji Okaazaki then netted a quickfire brace to make sure of the win, and a subsequent goal from Keisuke Honda added further gloss.

The win sees Japan climb to second place in the table with seven points from three encounters, trailing leader Syria by two points.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, remains fourth with three points from as many games.

Syria triumphed 6-0 over Cambodia to stay top of the table.

Syria faces second-place Japan in October and Fajr Ibrahim's side warmed up in style, as Omar Khribin scored twice in a comfortable win at the Phnom Penh National Olympic Stadium.

Malaysia's qualifier with Saudi Arabia was abandoned three minutes from time due to crowd trouble.

The Group A meeting in Malaysia was finely poised at 2-1 to the visitor going into the final three minutes before play was stopped, with reports of flares being thrown and fighting between fans.

It brought a premature end to Ong Kim Swee's first match at the helm and it remains to be seen what punishment will be meted out by FIFA.

Australia had to be patient in its Group B victory over Tajikistan, Mark Milligan eventually breaking the deadlock 12 minutes into the second half with an instinctive effort after a corner.

Veteran Tim Cahill added a brace inside the final 18 minutes, after Jordan had briefly assumed top spot with a 4-0 win over Bangladesh.

Yu Dabao's brace helped China beat the Maldives 3-0 and keep the pressure on Group C leader Qatar, which held off a late fightback from Hong Kong to win 3-2.

Thailand was a comeback king against Iraq, with Theerathon Bunmathan and Mongkol Tossakrai scoring inside the last 10 minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw at the top of Group F.

A 5-1 win over the Philippines took Uzbekistan second in Group H behind Korea DPR, while Bahrain beat Yemen 4-0.

In Group F, Chinese Taipei lost 2-1 to Vietnam and Iran eased past India 3-0.

Kwon Chang-hoon was the star performer as Korea Republic kept up its 100 per cent qualifying record with a 3-0 win over Lebanon.

Korea Republic, without last week's hat-trick hero Son Heung-min, overcame a difficult start to the match to take control through Jang Hyun-soo's penalty and Koo Ja-cheol's deflected close-range effort.

And Kwon completed his star turn with a clever finish in the second half to send Uli Stielike's side back to the top of Group G by making it three wins from three.

Ultimately, it proved a comfortable enough outing for Korea Republic, which avenged its defeat in 2014 qualifying and moved back to the top of the group, one goal ahead of Kuwait.

Kuwait overcame Laos 2-0.

The Group D clash between Oman and Guam ended goalless, as did the Group A meeting involving Palestine and United Arab Emirates.

Source Omnisport