Football

Japan stay top despite Iraq draw

Japan stayed in pole position in Group B of the AFC World Cup qualifiers for Russia 2018 after a 1-1 draw with Iraq yesterday.

The match was played in the neutral venue of Tehran, Iran.

The Japanese took the lead after just eight minutes through Yuya Osako. He connected with a Keisuke Honda corner to beat Iraq custodian Mohammed Gassid with a glancing header.

However, a defensive mix-up involving Maya Yoshida on 73 minutes denied the Samurai Blue a victory. The Southampton centre back tried to shield a pass back towards goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima but Mahdi Kamel capitalised to make it 1-1.

With the result, Japan take the outright lead in Group B with 17 points, one ahead of Australia and Saudi Arabia.

In Group A, Iran booked their spot in Russia with a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan.

OTHER RESULT

  • Thailand 1 UAE 1
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