2018 WCQ/2019 ACQ RECAP: Small nations make history

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Mongolia 0-1 (1-5 agg.) Timor Leste
(9′ Fabiano)

Timor Leste scored a solitary goal to settle the affair against Mongolia and secure a four goal aggregate lead, seeing the island nation progress to the second round for the first time while the Mongolians became the first team knocked out of World Cup qualification.

The cold weather seemed to cause Timor Leste little trouble early in the match, with Patrick Fabiano beating Batsaikhan Ariunbold to the loose ball to ease it into the back of the net after just nine minutes.

Nepal 0-0 (0-2 agg.) India

India advanced to the second round of World Cup qualifying after holding Nepal to a 0-0 draw in Kathmandu. Nepal dominated most of the match, but failed to translate their possession into goals.

Bikram Lama and Santosh Sahukala caused headaches for the Indian defence, as did Bimal Gharti Magar who came close to opening the scoring on the stroke of half time.

In the second half it looked as though India had opened the scoring just after the hour mark when Robin Singh put the ball in the back of the net, but the referee correctly ruled it out due to a handball.

Nepal continued to push but to no avail as India held on and secured their spot in the second round.

Bhutan 2-1 (3-1 agg.) Sri Lanka
(5′ 90′ Chencho / 33′ Zarwan)

Bhutan managed to stave off a fight-back from Sri Lanka, earning a hard fought 2-1 win against Sri Lanka in front of a full house in Thimpu who witnessed history as the landlocked nation progressed to the second round of qualifiers for the first time ever.

The Druk XI got off to a dream start in front of a packed Changlimithang Stadium, with a goal five minutes into play by Chencho Gyeltshen on the counter attack. Bhutan continued to defend deep and absorb the pressure, but Sri Lanka finally broke through after half an hour, when Zarwan headed home from a corner kick.

The second half started with a lot more intensity from Bhutan, as the bottom-ranked nation pushed Sri Lanka higher up the pitch and forced more mistakes. Lhendup Dorji found himself with multiple one-on-one chances against Sujan Perera, but failed to make the threats count, whille Chencho also had goal disallowed after being ruled offside.

Chencho found his brace at the end of regulation time to guarantee the home side would go through, jinking around the defence to make space at the near post.

Macau 1-1 (1-4 agg.) Cambodia
(Leong Ka Hong (pen) 52′ / Chanta Bin 28′)

Cambodia secured their spot in the second round of FIFA World Cup qualifying after a 1-1 draw with Macau gave them a 4-1 aggregate victory.

French-born midfielder Thierry Chanta Bin opened the scoring midway through the first half with a superb free kick that gave Ho Man Fai no chance. While the tie was all but over Macau fought to get something out of the return leg and were presented with the perfect opportunity when Pang Chi Hnag was upended in the box by Sok Sovan.

Leong Ka Hong stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to draw Macau level on the night, which is how the match ended, securing an historic berth for the Angkor Warriors.

Brunei Darussalam 0-2 (1-2 agg.) Chinese Taipei
(37′ Ruei, 57′ Chu En-Le)

Chinese Taipei rectified a home defeat with a 2-0 win over Brunei Darussalam to go through 2-1 on aggregate goals.

Defender Wang Ruei broke the deadlock when he stretched to volley in after the ball was headed towards the far post from a corner kick, threading the needle through a crowded goal line.

Chen Hao-Wei dinked the ball over Reduan Petara before sending a short cross in front of the goal mouth onto the head of Chu En-Le. It was the first ever goal for Turkish-born forward, also known as Onur Dogan.

Pakistan P-P (1-3 agg.) Yemen (MATCH POSTPONED)

Due to security concerns in Lahore, the match has been postponed and will be played on Monday, March 23 in Bahrain.

(Reports contributed by Ryan Steele and Paul Williams)