Tiny Guam shock India to record second successive WC Qualifier win
Guam, Asia's smallest football nation, have sprung yet another surprise in Group D of the AFC World Cup qualifiers by defeating visitors India 2-1 on Tuesday to follow last week's historic 1-0 win against Turkmenistan.
Defenders Brandon McDonald and James Nicklaw scored in the 38th and 62nd minutes respectively for Gary White's side, who now top their group with six points from two games.
Guam -- a United States territory in the north Pacific Ocean --- sit 174th in the FIFA Ranking and have a population of just 170,000 compared to more than 1.2 billion for India. Gary White's side now have two victories in a row, having never previously won or drawn a World Cup qualifying match.
India, 141st on the FIFA rankings, started the game well with midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh putting midfielder C. K. Vineeth through in the eighth minute. But Guam's former Los Angeles Galaxy defender A. J. DeLaGarza made a timely interception.
It was then Guam all the way as White's team settled into their passing rhythm to trouble Stephen Constantine's visitors.
Japan dominated at Saitama Stadium but couldn't find a way to beat Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Bin Mahbud, who produced spectacular saves in a 0-0 draw.
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.
Honda had another golden opportunity when his free kick from 25 meters hit the post in the 72nd. Singapore, 154th in the world rankings, lead Group E early with four points. Japan, bidding for their sixth straight World Cup berth, has one.
Australia captain Mile Jedinak scored in the second minute to set the Asian champions on their way to a 2-1 win over Kyrgyzstan in their opening qualifier.
The Crystal Palace midfielder curled a free kick over the defensive wall from 25 metres and the ball bounced in front of the goalkeeper before landing in the net.
The home team dominated possession and had more scoring opportunities but failed to convert them before Tommy Oar finished off a counter-attack to double the lead in the 68th minute.
Kyrgyzstan got a consolation goal in stoppage time when Azamot Baimatov headed home from a corner, with the referee rejecting Australia's appeal for hand ball from a Kyrgyzstan player as the ball crossed inside the far post.
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 in Bangkok, where the games was ordered to be played 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.
In the other game in Group G, Lebanon rebounded from a home loss to Kuwait by beating winning 2-0 at Laos, with goals from Mohammed Ghaddar and Feiz Shamsin.
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.
Iran laid siege to the Turkmen goal in the second half but was foiled by acrobatic saves from Gorbunov.
China started their qualifying campaign in Group C with a 6-0 rout of minnows Bhutan.
Yang Xu opened the scoring on the brink of half-time, then completed his hat trick after the break, while Yu Dabao added a brace and Wu Lei also scored.
Hong Kong are top of Group C after recording their second straight win, 2-0 over Maldives, thanks to second-half goals from Deshuai Xu and Ka Wai Lam.
Afghanistan rebounded from a 6-0 hiding 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 their second win. Uzbekistan got late goals from Igor Sergeev and Sardor Rashidov but remained winless.
Phillipines kept pace with their second win, defeating Yemen 2-0 in Doha, Qatar, Misagh Bahadoran and Iain Ramsay on the scoresheet for the visitors.
Omar Abdulrahman scored with 10 minutes to go for United Arab Emirates to beat Timor-Leste 1-0, and lead Group A, where a woeful Malaysia suffered a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Palestine.
Some calamitous defending from the home side allowed Sameh Maraaba and Tamer Seyam to grab a brace apiece, with Musab Battat and substitute Khader Yousef completing the rout.
Bangladesh and Tajikistan got 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 equaliser two minutes from time.
Thailand moved on top of Group F with their second victory as Teerasil Dangda scored both first-half goals in 2-0 win over Taiwan.