By Michael Church
HONG KONG, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Iran handed Cambodia a record-breaking 14-0 thrashing on an historic day in Tehran as goals flowed in World Cup qualifiers across Asia with Japan, South Korea and Australia securing comfortable wins on Thursday.
Striker Karim Ansarifard scored four times and Sardar Azmoun netted a hat-trick for Iran who claimed a second straight win in Group C.
The game at the Azadi Stadium, however, was as notable for the presence of 3,500 female fans, who were allowed into the stadium in Tehran for a World Cup qualifier for the first time in the four decades since the Islamic Revolution.
Iran, five-times World Cup qualifiers, lead their group with six points from two games, two points ahead of second-placed Iraq who beat Hong Kong 2-0.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min was on target twice in South Korea’s 8-0 win over Sri Lanka as Paulo Bento’s team secured their second win in Group H to sit level on points with North Korea.
Lebanon are three points behind after securing their first win thanks to a 2-1 victory over Turkmenistan.
Defender Maya Yoshida was among the scorers as Japan notched up a 6-0 win over Mongolia in Group F and they are joint-top with Tajikistan – who they play on Tuesday – with Kyrgyzstan in third following their 7-0 win over Myanmar.
2022 World Cup hosts Qatar, playing in the qualifiers as they double up as eliminators for the 2023 Asian Cup finals, earned a 2-0 win over Bangladesh in Group E.
Qatar lead the standings by one point from Oman who sealed a 3-0 win over Afghanistan.
China swatted aside Guam, with Yang Xu scoring four goals in a 7-0 win in Group A, while Syria laboured to a 2-1 victory over the Maldives following Ahmad Al Salih’s 65th-minute sending-off to join the Chinese on six points from two games.
Australia had few problems in their Group B meeting with Nepal as Jamie MacLaren scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 win and Graham Arnold’s side lead by two points from Kuwait and Jordan, who played out a scoreless draw in Amman.
The United Arab Emirates completed back-to-back Group G wins with a 5-0 thumping of Indonesia in Dubai while Nguyen Quang Hai scored the only goal as Vietnam overcame Malaysia 1-0 to move level on four points with second-placed Thailand.
Uzbekistan picked up their first win of the campaign with a 5-0 victory over Yemen as coach Vadim Abramov made a successful start to his second spell in charge of the Central Asian nation but they remain one point behind Group D leaders Saudi Arabia who secured a 3-0 win over Singapore.
(Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Ed Osmond)