Saudi Arabia retained the last perfect record in the final phase of Asia’s World Cup preliminaries yesterday as Herve Renard’s side claimed a 3-2 victory over China in Jeddah.
The Saudis are now three points clear at the top of Group B after Australia’s winning streak was ended by Japan at Saitama Stadium earlier yesterday when Aziz Behich’s late own goal handed the Samurai Blue a 2-1 victory.
Australia are second on nine points, while Oman sit third, level on six points with Japan, following their 3-1 win over last-placed Vietnam with six rounds of matches remaining.
Group A leaders Iran held the other perfect record ahead of yesterday’s games but they needed an Alireza Jahanbakhsh header to earn a 1-1 draw with South Korea in Tehran.
The Iranians lead the standings with 10 points, two more than the Koreans, with the pair well clear of the chasing pack.
Lebanon, with five points, moved into third spot in the group after a 3-2 win over Syria. The fourth-placed UAE, meanwhile, drew 2-2 with Iraq.
They are level on three points with the Iraqis. Syria are bottom of the group on one point.