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Japan, Oman, Palestinians Win Olympic qualifiers

Toyota, Japan, Jun 20 : Hiroshi Kiyotake scored one goal and set up another as Japan defeated Kuwait 3-1 in the first leg of 2012 London Olympics qualifying on Sunday, while Oman stunned China 1-0

PTI [ Updated: June 20, 2011 14:41 IST ]
japan oman palestinians win olympic qualifiers
japan oman palestinians win olympic qualifiers

Toyota, Japan, Jun 20 : Hiroshi Kiyotake scored one goal and set up another as Japan defeated Kuwait 3-1 in the first leg of 2012 London Olympics qualifying on Sunday, while Oman stunned China 1-0 and the Palestinians upset Bahrain by the same score.

Cerezo Osaka midfielder Kiyotake was left unmarked in front of the Kuwait goal and headed home Yusuke Koga's cross in the 18th minute to give the hosts the lead.

"It was important to get off to a good start," said Kiyotake. "We were able to establish momentum early and that should help us in the next match."

Defender Mizuki Hamada doubled it in the 37th minute with a header from Kiyotake's corner kick.

Yuya Osaka made it 3-0 in the 61st minute but Jaber Jazea reduced Japan's lead seven minutes later with what could be a crucial away goal for Maher Alshemmari's side.

The second leg of the home-and-away contest is on Thursday. The winners advance to a group stage from which three teams will qualify to represent Asia at next year's Olympics.

In Shanghai, Al Hadhri Farah scored just four minutes in to lead Oman to a 1-0 win over China.

Bahrain's first big sporting event since anti-government protests in February paralyzed the country ended badly, the football team losing 1-0 to the Palestinians in a sign that the sport is is on the rise in the West Bank.

Khalid Salem scored in the 70th minute for the Palestinians in a first-leg match played in the near-empty National Stadium in Riffa.

At least 31 people have been killed since Bahrain's Shiite majority started its campaign for greater freedoms. Along with wreaking havoc on the economy, the protests forced the cancellation of Formula One's Bahrain Grand Prix this year. The protests were inspired by uprisings throughout the Arab world.

Elsewhere, Australia defeated Yemen 3-0 in Gosford, Australia, thanks to two goals from striker Jason Hoffman.

Mitch Nichols also scored to give Australia a buffer to take into the second leg.

Australia had several off-target shots before Hoffman headed home Sebastian Ryall's cross in the 14th minute. Nichols added the second from close range in the 67th minute and Hoffman netted the third in stoppage time.In Seoul, South Korea defeated Jordan 3-1.

Midfielder Yoon Bitgaram scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 75th minute and Kim Dong-sub added a header 10 minutes later.

Mahmoud Saleem Mahmoud Za'tara opened the scoring for the visitors just before halftime. Kim Tae-hwan equalized early in the second half for South Korea, which is seeking its seventh consecutive Olympic appearance.

In Iraq, Muhsin Salman scored in the first half to give Iran victory against its one-time foe and neighbor.

Iran took advantage of a lapse by Iraq's defense to score in the 30th minute. Thinking Salman was offside, the Iraqi defenders dropped back. Salman kept going and fired past the 'keeper.

The game was played in northern Iraq, in the Kurdish city of Irbil, which is safer than the capital of Baghdad. While club games are played in Baghdad, international games are generally played in the Kurdish region or outside of Iraq altogether.

In North Korea, Ali Ahmed Al Hajeri scored in the second half to lead the United Arab Emirates to a 1-0 win over North Korea at Kim II Sung Stadium.

Turkmenistan twice came from behind to draw 2-2 against Syria in a qualifier staged in neutral Jordan because of ongoing anti-government protests in Syria.

Odai Jaffal gave Syria the lead in the 28th minute at Prince Mohammed Stadium, before Alexander Boliyan leveled in the 51st.

Omar Soma restored Syria's advantage two minutes later, but Vahyi Orazsahedov equalized in the 79th minute.

The first leg was originally scheduled to be played in Damascus, but FIFA ordered the match be shifted with rights groups saying hundreds of people have been killed since Syria first launched a violent crackdown against protesters in mid-March.

Midfielder Fozil Musaev scored in the 58th minute to give the Uzbekistan a 1-0 victory over Hong Kong, while Qatar came from a goal down to beat India 3-1.

India striker Jeje Lalpekhlua opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Qatar had a chance to equalize four minutes later but goalkeeper Laximikanth Kattimani saved captain Hassan Al Haidous's penalty kick.

Ahmed Khalfan scored for Qatar three minutes later and a double from Mohammed Saleh Al Neil, in the 54th and 69th minutes, gave the home side a comfortable win.
Lebanon and Malaysia played to a scoreless draw. AP

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