Australia, South Korea edge single-goal World Cup qualifiers


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Australia edged Vietnam 1-0 in Hanoi on Tuesday to make it two wins out of two in Group B of Asia World Cup qualifying.

In Group A, South Korea defeated Lebanon 1-0 at Suwon World Cup Stadium to pick up its first win of the stage, after 0-0 against Iraq five days earlier.

Rhyan Grant ran to the far post to steer in a header after 43 minutes in an empty My Dinh Stadium. His first international goal kept the Socceroos on track for a fifth successive World Cup appearance.

Vietnam is making its first appearance at this stage of qualifying but had chances, including a VAR review for a possible penalty against Grant’s handball before the visitors took the lead.

In humid conditions and on a difficult playing surface, Vietnam pushed for a point but couldn’t find a way past Mat Ryan in the Australia goal. Mitchell Duke looked to have sealed the win with a low shot four minutes from the end but the goal was ruled out for offside.

South Korea’s campaign to appear at a 10th successive World Cup was hit by the late withdrawal of Son Heung-min. The Tottenham Hotspur star injured a calf in training on Monday and was deemed unfit to play.

Without Son, South Korea struggled against Lebanon goalkeeper Mostafa Matar. The deadlock was broken only on the hour, when Kwon Chang-hoon shot past Matar from close range.

The top two from both six-team groups qualify automatically for the World Cup in Qatar. The third-place teams meet in a playoff and the winner faces an opponent from another confederation.

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