Football: Koreas in silent surreal stalemate as Australia plunder seven

Football: Koreas in silent surreal stalemate as Australia plunder seven

Empty stands during the World Cup 2022 Qualifying football match between South and North Korea
This handout photo taken on Oct 15, 2019 by the Korea Football Association (KFA) shows empty stands during the World Cup 2022 Qualifying Asian zone Group H football match between South Korea (in white) and North Korea at Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang. (Photo: Handout/Korea Football Association/AFP)

SEOUL: North and South Korea played out a surreal 0-0 draw in front of an empty stadium and with no TV coverage as Australia smashed seven past Taiwan in Asian World Cup qualifying on Tuesday (Oct 15).

Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min captained South Korea for their first competitive men's match in Pyongyang, but it was an odd affair with no fans or media at Kim Il Sung Stadium.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino was one of the few people in attendance for the rare game between the two Koreas, which remain technically at war.

He was one of the lucky ones - South Korean fans will be unable to see the game until the delegation returns from Pyongyang with a recording of the game on DVD.

On a busy night of qualifiers for Qatar 2022, Marcello Lippi's China were also frustrated as they were held to a scoreless draw away to the Philippines.

But there was more action elsewhere as Adam Taggart, Jackson Irvine and Harry Souttar scored two apiece in Australia's 7-1 rout of Taiwan.

Taggart scored twice in seven first-half minutes in Kaohsiung - his first goals for Australia in six years, after injury threatened to derail his career.

The Suwon Samsung Bluewings forward nodded the opener from Rhyan Grant's diagonal cross, and then had a simple finish after Brad Smith and Awer Mabil's neat interchange on the left.

Chen Yi-wei pulled one back for the hosts before Irvine grabbed two goals of his own, the first from a cool half-volley and the second with a close-range header.

Souttar got the third Australian brace of the night, either side of Jamie Maclaren's strike, to complete the demolition job.

Elsewhere, Japan's Takumi Minamino scored twice and Takuma Asano got the other as the Samurai Blue defeated Tajikistan 3-0 in Dushanbe.

Iraq's 4-0 thrashing of Cambodia was highlighted by Amjad Attwan's belter which flew 25 yards and into the top corner past goalkeeper Keo Soksela.

Southeast Asian champions Vietnam humbled Indonesia 3-1 away and Uzbekistan beat Singapore by the same scoreline, thanks to Eldor Shomurodov's second-half double.

And Ekanit Panya's far-post finish secured a 2-1 win for Thailand over the United Arab Emirates as they kept pace with Vietnam at the top of Group G.

In other action, 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar edged past Oman 2-1 in Doha thanks to goals from Akram Afif and Almoez Ali either side of the break.

In a fast-paced match, Akram struck in the second minute from close range but Rabia al-Alawi restored parity in the 65th minute with a dazzling solo run.

Almoez Ali then struck from just inside the box in the 71st minute to give Qatar the winning goal.

Elsewhere, Bahrain upset Iran 1-0 with Mohamed al-Hardan scoring from the penalty spot, Syria thrashed Guam 4-0, Lebanon eased past Sri Lanka 3-0, Jordan beat Nepal 3-0 and India drew 1-1 with Bangladesh.

Source: AFP/gs/ga/ec/de