Philippines, Guam record famous victories in AFC World Cup qualifying
Philippines provided a big boost for Southeast Asian football by pulling off a shock 2-1 victory over Bahrain in their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier in Manila on Thursday night.
The Azkals are 31 places lower than the West Asian nation in the FIFA rankings, but scored two goals in 10 second half minutes to get all three points in the AFC second round Group H match.
After Misagh Bahadoran gave Thomas Dooley's side the lead in the 50th minute, striker Javier Patino doubled the advantage on the hour.
Bahrain, who have appeared in the last four AFC Asian Cups, including a fourth place finish in 2004, were firm favourites to win the match.
They pulled back a goal thanks to an injury time effort from Abdulwahab Al-Malood, but the Azkals held on to secure all three points.
Also in Group H, Hyon-Uk So provided the only goal for North Korea against the run of play for a 1-0 victory over Yemen in a match played in Qatar.
In Group D, Asia's smallest football nation Guam tasted victory in their first-ever home World Cup qualifier by defeating Turkmenistan 1-0.
The difference between the sides at the National Training Center in Hagatna was an own goal by Serdar Annaorazow after 17 minutes.
The match against Turkmenistan was Guam's first World Cup fixture since they were beaten 16-0 away by Tajikistan in 2000. Two days earlier they lost 19-0 in Iran.
Also in Group D, Amad Al-Hosni's 40th-minute penalty proved decisive in Oman's 2-1 win over India at Bangalore. Qasim Said scored in the very first minute for visiting Oman, and Sunil Chhetri made it 1-1 in the 26th.
Safuwan Baharudin scored two first-half goals to inspire Singapore to a thumping 4-0 victory away to Cambodia in Group E.
After striker Khairul Amri had given the Lions a 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, Safuwan struck in the 21st and 35th minutes to put Bernd Stange's side in firm control before half-time.
The visitors extended their advantage when forward Fazrul Nawal turned in a chest-down from midfielder Hariss Harun to put Singapore ahead 4-0 in the 54th minute.
They almost made it 5-0 in the 65th minute when a free kick from Shaiful Esah cannoned off the bar.
Veteran forward Shahril Ishak came on for Khairul Amri in the 79th minute, earning his 124th cap, making him the most capped international in Singapore history.
Also in Group E, Syria cruised to a 6-0 win against Afghanistan in a game played in Iran.
Raja Rafe scored twice inside 35 minutes to send Syria on their way, and Moayad Ajan added a third before the break. Abdelrazaq Al Hussai, Sanharib Bueyueksal, and Omar Khribin all added goals in the second half to complete the rout.
A 93rd-minute header by Timor-Leste defender Ramon Saro handed the tiny Southeast Asian nation a 1-1 draw with Malaysia in Group A.
Safee Sali's first-half strike seemed certain to give Harimau Malaysia all three points and an ideal start to the campaign.
But Ramon's powerful header in the third minute of stoppage time knocked the stuffing out of the Malaysians, who had been desperate to start with a victory on home soil.
Saudi Arabia answered Palestine's stoppage-time equaliser with a winner to emerge 3-2 winners in Group A.
Matias Jadue's levelled the game at 2 in the 91st minute, but the hosts secured three points with Mohammed Al-Sahlawi's second goal of the game in the 94th.
Earlier, Yahya Al Shehri had opened the scoring for Saudi Arabia, and Al-Sahlawi doubled the advantage just after half-time, only for Pablo Tamburrini to bring Palestine back in the game to set up the dramatic finish.
Myanmar, coached by former Singapore boss Raddy Avramovic, drew 2-2 with Laos in Group G despite leading 1-0 into the last 10 minutes in Vientiane.
The hosts struck back with two goals in two minutes, including the first from the penalty spot in the 81st minute, from striker Khampheng Sayavutthi. But Myanmar grabbed a point when midfielder Kyaw Zayar Win equalised with three minutes to go.
Yousef Nasser scored the winner in the 86th minute as Kuwait began Group G play with a win away to Lebanon.
In Group C, Qatar came away with a 1-0 win over Maldives after scoring in the ninth minute of stoppage time.
Ahmed El Sayed's shot from the top of the area took a major deflection off a defender to give the visitors all three points.
In the same group, Hong Kong romped to a 7-0 home victory over minnows Bhutan with English-born attacker Jaimes McKee grabbing a brace.
Hong Kong led 4-0 at half-time and scored twice after the break in 12 minutes, including a penalty from midfielder Lam Ka Wai, to cruise towards a comfortable win.
In Group B, Anton Zemlianukhina scored two first-half goals to lead Kyrgyzstan to a 3-1 win over Bangladesh in Dhaka. Edgar Bernhardt also scored a penalty for the visitors.
Meanwhile, Hasan Abdel Fattah recorded a hat trick as Jordan won away to Tajikistan 3-1, Manuchehr Dzhalilov scoring for the hosts.