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AFC World Cup qualifying: Ex-Merseyside duo leads Australia; Uzbekistan 2-0

UAE v Australia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 06: Tim Cahill of Australia celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between UAE and Australia at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium on September 6, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

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Five AFC nations are unbeaten and three are perfect after two days of the third and final round of World Cup qualifying for Asia.

The top two teams in Groups A and B will win automatic qualification to Russia 2018 once 10 games have been played, with the first two in the books for all 12 teams as of Tuesday morning.

[ MORE: Patience for Pulisic ]

Who’s in the catbird seat and who has a ton of work to do? Read on...

Qatar 0-1 Uzbekistan

We told you the White Wolves were not to be slept on in our World Cup surprise teams post, and manager Samvel Babayan’s side is 2-0 thanks to consecutive 1-0 victories over Syria and Qatar. While admittedly two of the must-wins inside Group A, both jobs were handled. This one came courtesy an 86th minute goal from defender Egor Krimets of Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League.

UAE 0-1 Australia

After a road win over Japan, United Arab Emirates were hoping to put their stamp on Group B as upstarts. Unfortunately, there’s this fella named Tim Cahill who knows how to put himself in the right places at the right times. It was an ex-Merseyside connection that did the trick, as former Liverpool man Brad Smith -- now with Bournemouth -- played a terrific cross into the path of Cahill, whose 48th international goal stood as the winner.

Matchday 2 results
Iraq 1-2 Saudi Arabia
China 0-0 Iran
Syria 0-0 South Korea
Thailand 0-2 Japan

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