2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying round-up: Mooy on the scoresheet in Australia win, victory for Jahanbakhsh and Iran
Brighton & Hove Albion trio Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy and Alireza Jahanbakhsh all made winning starts for their countries in today (Tuesday)'s Asian second round qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Mooy got on the scoresheet and Ryan kept a clean-sheet as Australia began their Group B qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win in Kuwait.
The Socceroos opened the scoring with a somewhat fortuitous goal on seven minutes. Mooy's corner was cleared only as far as Jackson Irvine. The Hull City midfielder let fly at goal with a half-volley but his attempt bounced off the shins of captain Mathew Leckie at close-range to put the Aussies a goal to the good.
The trio then combined again to make it 2-0 on 30 minutes. Mooy's corner from the right was headed downwards in the area by Irvine. Leckie, who had positioned himself in front of the keeper, received Irvine's header inside the six-yard box and turned to guide the ball home.
The Albion midfielder then played the part of goalscorer eight minutes later with a beautiful goal. Kuwait stopper Sulaiman Abdulghafoor lost his footing in an attempt to punch clear Rhyan Grant's cross. The ball was teed up for Mooy by Adam Taggart on the edge of the box and the 28-year-old curled a sublime effort past Abdulghafoor to triple the deficit before half-time.
The second-half saw Australia fail to add to the scoreline but Ryan was called upon to make a couple of superb saves to preserve the lead. On 58 minutes substitute Yousef Naser produced a thumping drive that was expertly tipped over the bar by a full-stretch Ryan.
Five minutes later and the Brighton keeper was on hand to thwart Naser again. A mistake from Trent Sainsbury saw the sub use all his striking instincts to fire a first-time effort at goal but Ryan was on hand to deny the forward.
Both Albion players went the full 90 minutes as the Socceroos moved up to second, out of five, in Group B. The Aussies are level on points with Kuwait but have played a game less.
Australia host fourth-placed Nepal in their next qualifier on Thursday October 10 (9.30am).
Jahanbakhsh and Iran opened their Group C qualifying campaign with a 2-0 victory in Hong Kong.
Sardar Azmoun reacted quickest to a bouncing ball in the box on 23 minutes to fire past Hong Kong keeper Yapp Hung Fai to make it 1-0.
The Seagulls winger almost doubled the visitors' advantage before the break but he fizzed his free-kick just wide of the post.
But Iran found their second, and the winner, nine minutes into the second half. An overlap on the right flank saw the ball pulled back across the face of the goal and Karim Ansarifard swept home to seal the win.
Jahanbakhsh played 87 minutes of the game in Hong Kong before he was replaced by former Fulham and Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah.
Iran sit second out of five teams in Group C at this early stage. The Iranians are a point behind top-of-the-table Bahrain although they have a game in hand.
Iran's next World Cup qualifier sees them host fourth-placed Cambodia on October 10 (2.30pm).