There were matches across Asia as the remaining Asian Football Confederation aspirants kicked off their final phase of World Cup qualification for Russia 2018 overnight.Group A
- I.R Iran
- Korea Republic
- China P.R.
- Saudi Arabia
UAE enjoyed a stunning 2-1 win against Japan in front of 65,000 at Saitama Stadium. UAE will host the Caltex Socceroos at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday night (Wed morning AEST).
Saudi Arabia needed a late penalty to scrape past Thailand at the King Fahd Stadium.
The contest looked set to finish all square, with neither side able to find a route to goal until Fahad Al Muwallad was brought down in the area six minutes from time and Nawaf Al Abid made no mistake from the spot.
Saudi Arabia will now look to make it two from two against Iraq in Malaysia (Iraq's home venue for this clash), while Thailand will host Japan at the Rajamangala.
Thursday night's results means the Socceroos lead Group B on goal difference.
In Group A Asia heavyweights Korea Republic and China P.R. played out a five goal thriller at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
The Taeguk Warriors looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory after a China own-goal was added to by strikes from Lee Chung-yong and Koo Ja-cheol.
However late goals from Hai Yu and Hao Junmin ensured a tense finish, with Korea Republic hanging on for a 3-2 triumph.
There was also late drama in Iran, where two goals in injury time from Reza Ghoochannejhad and Alireza Jahanbaksh saw the home side secure a 2-0 win against Qatar at the Azadi Stadium.
In Uzbekistan a solitary goal to substitute Alexandr Geynrikh was enough to bank three points against a stubborn Syrian outfit.
The two third-placed finishers from each group at the end of the group stage will play off for the remaining half spot.
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