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Jedinak penalty secures draw for Australia against Japan

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Football Soccer - Australia v Japan - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - Docklands stadium - Melbourne, Australia - 11/10/16. Australia's Matthew Spiranovic and Mile Jedinak in action with Japan's Shinji Kagawa. REUTERS/David Gray
Football Soccer - Australia v Japan - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - Docklands stadium - Melbourne, Australia - 11/10/16. Australia's Matthew Spiranovic and Mile Jedinak in action with Japan's Shinji Kagawa. REUTERS/David Gray

(Reuters) - A Mile Jedinak penalty secured a 1-1 draw for Australia against Japan in their Asian Group B World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, while Iran's Sardar Azmoun grabbed the only goal as they stayed top of Group A with a 1-0 win over South Korea.

Iran were briefly bumped down to second after Uzbekistan, who were beaten by the group leaders on Thursday, rebounded to secure a 2-0 win over China.

Iraq's Mohanad Adbulraheem scored all four goals as they secured the first points of their Group B campaign with a 4-0 win over Thailand, who were reduced to 10 men after Koravit Namwiset was sent off.

Asian Cup champions Australia stayed top of Group B on eight points, one more than second placed Japan following their 1-1 draw in Melbourne.

Genki Haraguchi put Japan ahead in the fifth minute, but made a clumsy challenge on Tomi Juric to concede a 52nd-minute penalty that Socceroos skipper Jedinak slotted home to ensure his side stayed undefeated in qualifying for Russia 2018.

In Group A, Iran retained top spot with a 1-0 win over South Korea in a fervent atmosphere in a jam-packed Azadi stadium.

The Iranians dominated the first half and took a deserved 25th-minute lead through Azmoun, who capped a flowing move when he met a fizzing low cross from the right and side-footed it into the bottom right corner past keeper Seung-Gyu Kim.

The Koreans pressed forward after the break but failed to create a clear-cut chance against a packed Iranian defence.

Uzbekistan's Marat Bikmaev made the breakthrough in their clash against China five minutes after the restart following a goalless first half in Tashkent.

Eldor Shomurodov outfoxed China's backline with a defence-splitting pass that Bikmaev smashed across China goalkeeper Yang Zhi and in off the post.

Uzbekistan looked the more threatening team and grabbed their second goal five minutes from the end when substitute Otabek Shukurov's speculative long-range effort took a deflection and rolled into the net with the keeper stranded.

Iraq ran riot over Thailand in Tehran, with Adbulraheem opening the scoring following a corner in the eighth minute, before adding a second midway through the first half.

The visitors, who are the only team in Group A with zero points after four games and have a goal difference of minus nine, went down to 10 men in the 69th minute after Namwiset was dismissed by the referee following a coming together with Iraq's Ahmed Ibrahim.

Adbulraheem struck twice more at the death in a game that Thailand ended with nine men on the pitch after substitute Prathum Chutong left the field on a stretcher following a collision with his own goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)


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