November 14, 2019 / 5:23 PM / a month ago

Lippi quits as big-name coaches suffer in Asian qualifying

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Marcello Lippi quit as China coach on Thursday on a difficult night for big-name European managers in Asia’s second round of 2022 World Cup preliminaries as the teams of Bert van Marwijk and Marc Wilmots also suffered significant defeats.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - AFC Asian Cup - Quarter Final - China v Iran - Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - January 24, 2019 China coach Marcello Lippi and Iran coach Carlos Queiroz during the match REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Italian Lippi announced he was standing down from his role after an own goal from Zhang Linpeng handed Syria a 2-1 win that left China five points behind their opponents halfway through the Group A fixtures.

Only the winners of the eight groups are guaranteed to advance to the next phase of qualifying with the four best runners-up also progressing, and the Chinese share second spot with the Philippines, who secured a 2-1 win over the Maldives.

“My pay is very high, and I take all the blame,” Lippi said.

“I am quitting as China coach.”

Dutchman Van Marwijk also endured a miserable evening as his United Arab Emirates side - who played the last 50 minutes with 10 men after Khalifa Al Hammadi was sent off - succumbed to a 1-0 defeat by Vietnam to drop to third in Group G.

The Vietnamese lead on 10 points with Thailand in second after their 2-1 defeat by Malaysia ensured Tan Cheng Hoe’s team remain in contention for a place in the next phase.

Belgian Wilmots’s Iran suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of old foes Iraq, with Alaa Abbas scoring in stoppage time to put Srecko Katanec’s side in command of Group C, which they lead on 10 points from Bahrain, who drew 0-0 with Hong Kong.

There was better news for Paulo Bento as South Korea picked up a point with a 0-0 draw against Lebanon to stay top of Group H while Turkmenistan remained in the race for a place in the next round with a 3-1 win over North Korea.

Japan maintained their perfect record thanks to goals from Takumi Minamino and Genki Haraguchi which sealed a 2-0 win for Hajime Moriyasu’s side over Kyrgyzstan to give the Samurai Blue 12 points from four games.

The Japanese lead Group F by six points from Kyrgyzstan with Tajikistan in third after their 4-3 defeat by Myanmar.

Salem Al Dawsari broke Uzbek hearts in Tashkent with a last- minute lob to give Saudi Arabia a 3-2 win in Group D that lifted Herve Renard’s side above Uzbekistan into first place, two points clear of Vadim Abramov’s team with Yemen in third after their 1-0 win over Palestine.

In Group E, Seminlen Doungel scored in stoppage time to earn India a 1-1 draw with Afghanistan while Oman thrashed Bangladesh 4-1.

Australia kept their winning run intact with a 1-0 victory over Jordan in Group B courtesy of a goal from Adam Taggart and Graham Arnold’s side are now five points clear of Kuwait, who dished out a 9-0 hammering to Chinese Taipei.

Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond

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