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2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan"
Saudis draw; Iraq win - Classy Emirates hammer Uzbeks

© FootballAsia.com

The UAE's Gharib Hareb scores from a penalty past Uzbekistan goal keeper Polyakov Aleksey during their World Cup 2002 Asian group B qualifier match in Abudhabi, August 17, 2001. UAE beat Uzbekistan 4-1.

A goal seven minutes from time by Obeid Al Dossary rescued Saudi Arabia from a shock defeat at the hands of Bahrain in the first round of matches in Group A of Asiaís World Cup qualifying tournament.

The former Olympic team striker hit the equaliser in the Prince Fisal Bin Fahd Stadium in front of a crowd of over 15,000 in the 83rd minute to salvage a point for Slobodan Santracís side.

Bahrain, who produced the shock of the first round by ousting Kuwait from the competition, took a surprise early lead through Mohamed Ahmed Salmeen after just 18 minutes.

Wolfgang Sidkaís side looked set to give the 500 travelling Bahrain fans an unexpected three points before Al Dossary gave the two-time World Cup qualifiers a share of the spoils.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad. Iraq defated Thailand 4-0 to take top spot in the early standings in Group A.

Hisham Mohamed scored twice to give Adnan Hamdís side the win as they look to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since Mexico in 1986.

Hisham opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but Peter Witheís determined Thais held out untli 20 minutes from the end when Emad Mohammed doubled Iraqís advantage.

Hisham claimed his second three minutes later and, with four minutes left on the clock, veteran midfielder Laith Hussein made it four to put the Iraqis on top of Group A.

The United Arab Emirates signalled their intent to qualify for their second World Cup finals by destroying Uzbekistan 4-1 in Abu Dhabi in Group B of Asiaís second round of qualifying for Korea/Japan.

Abdullah Saqrís side took the early initiative in the group with a commanding display that saw goals from Yasser Salim, Gareeb Hareeb, Fahd Ali and veteran striker Zuhair Bahkit condemn the central Asians to a demoralising defeat.

Salim opened the scoring midway through the first half with a powerful drive from the right side of the penalty area.

Al Ainís Hareeb doubled the lead 11 minutes later from the penalty spot before Nikolay Shirshov pulled one back seven minutes from the end of the half for the Uzbeks with an angled drive from fully 25 yards.

Fahd Ali restored the two-goal cushion for the Emirates, who reached the finals in Italy in 1990, a minute before the break and, with the Uzbeks tiring, Bahkit hit the fourth with five minutes to go, beating goalkeeper Alexsey Polyakov at his near post.

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