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Soccer: Bahrain and Iran Score Wins in Asian World Cup Qualifying


Bahrain and Iran scored wins while South Korea and Uzbekistan lost in Asian qualifying matches for the 2006 World Cup football (soccer) tournament in Germany.

In Pyongyang, the absence of injured strikers Alaa Hobeil and Rashid Jamal left Husain Ali as the scoring star for Bahrain, which defeated North Korea, 2-1.

For the North Koreans, it was a case of wasted opportunities before a noisy capacity crowd of 70,000 as they attacked relentlessly all game long, only to be denied on more than a dozen occasions.

Meanwhile in Tehran, Vahid Hashemian scored both goals for the home team to lift Iran to a 2-1 victory over Japan in front of 100,000 fans at Azadi Stadium. Bahrain and Iran are tied atop Group-B with four points each.

In Group-A action, Kuwait defeated Uzbekistan, 2-1, thanks to two goals from Abdul Aziz Bashar. Meanwhile in Dammam, host Saudi Arabia defeated 2002 World Cup co-host South Korea, 2-0, on a 29th minute goal from Saud Khariri and a 73rd minute penalty kick from Yasser Al Dahtani.

Saudi Arabia leads Group-A with four points while South Korea is in second place with three. Kuwait has three and Uzbekistan one. Only the top two teams in each group are guaranteed berths to next year's World Cup. The third-placed teams face a playoff to earn a fifth berth to the tournament.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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