Lebanon stunned Iran 1-0 to get its campaign on track and South Korea managed a 2-2 draw against Uzbekistan to extend its lead in Group A.
Japan took a significant stride toward a place at the 2014 World Cup by beating Iraq 1-0 on Tuesday, extending its commanding lead in Group B of Asian qualifying.
Lebanon also needed a win to keep its campaign alive. The Middle East minnows have reached this stage of the competition for the first time but a string of injuries in recent months have seen it lose to Qatar and draw with Uzbekistan.
Lebanon attacked from the start and went ahead when captain Roda Antar took a cross from midfielder Mohammad Haidar and headed home a shot from close range. That appeared to wake up the Iranians, who pressed forward for the rest of the half.
The Iranians dominated possession in the second half and Mohammad Nori almost drew his team level when his header was just cleared off the Lebanon goal line in the 62nd minute. Nori had a second chance to equalize but his searing volley was stopped by Lebanon goalkeeper Abbas Hassan, who had several acrobatic saves in the match.
Photo: Lebanon’s Hassan Maatouk, left, fights for the ball against Iran’s Mohammad Nori, right, during their 2014 World Cup Asian Qualifying soccer match, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012. Lebanon won 1-0. Photo: Hussein Malla / AP
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