Printer Friendly and PDF

Vientiane: Kuwait made it three wins out of three in Group G of the second round of joint-qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup with a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Laos on Tuesday.

Having edged Lebanon 1-0 in Saida before a 9-0 hammering of an out-of-sorts Myanmar, who are led by former Kuwait coach Radojko Avramovic, Al Azraq went into Tuesday’s meeting with an improving Laos joint top of the Group G standings alongside Korea Republic, with Nabil Maaloul’s side boasting an identical record with the 2015 AFC Asian Cup runners-up.

And Kuwait reached the midway point of their campaign with a 100% record as a first-half strike from Yousef Naser and a Bader Al Motawaa penalty late in the second half consigned Laos to their third defeat in four matches. However, Korea Republic's subsequent 3-0 win in Lebanon saw them go top with Kuwait in second on goal difference.

Laos held out for a good half hour before Yousef Naser, who came off the bench to score the late winner in Kuwait’s opening victory in Lebanon before netting a brace in the 9-0 hammering of Myanmar last Thursday, took his tally to four in three games when he broke the deadlock at the National Sports Complex Stadium in the 31st minute.

After being unable to add to their advantage for the majority of the second half, Kuwait were given a golden opportunity to double their advantage in the 84th minute when Thai referee Sivakorn Pu-Udom awarded them a penalty, which Bader Al Motawaa successfully converted to seal the 2-0 win with his fourth of the qualifiers following a hat-trick in the win over Myanmar

The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup.

randomness