DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates ended Australia's hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, winning 1-0 on Wednesday to bolster its own chances of playing at the Games for the first time.
In other Olympic qualifiers, South Korea qualified for the Olympics for the seventh time in a row with a 3-0 drubbing of Oman in Group A.
Bahrain kept its campaign alive with a 2-1 victory that put the brakes on Syria's surprise run in Group C, which is now led by Japan after its comprehensive 4-0 win over winless Malaysia.
Qatar ended Saudi Arabia's chances of advancing with a 2-1 victory in the Group A encounter. Qatar lies third, behind South Korea and Oman.
The winners of each group advances to the Olympics. The three runners-up will play off in a round robin competition starting in Vietnam on March 25. That team then will take on the fourth-place team from Africa, Senegal, for the final Olympic spot in a match to be played in England on April 23.
In Abu Dhabi, Australia set the pace early and had several good chances. Aaron Mooy forced the UAE keeper Khalid Eisa to make a diving save in the 15th minute and then five minutes later Eisa saved a shot from Oliver Bozanic with his feet.
UAE then went on the counterattack. Striker Ahmed Khalil fired in a blistering free kick that Australia keeper Matthew Ryan just got a hand on. Then seconds later, UAE midfielder Omar Abdulrahman collected a backheel pass from Rashad Eisa in the 22nd minute and fired a shot underneath a diving Ryan for the only goal.
Australia pressed late in the first half and nearly scored when Mate Dugandzic's effort clipped the crossbar in the 40th minute. It didn't create another good chance in the second half, leaving the team bottom of Group B and without a goal in the competition.
UAE tops Group B after Iraq beat Uzbekistan 2-1 Tuesday. The Gulf nation now needs only a draw in its final away match against Uzbekistan March 14 to qualify for the Olympics.
South Korea's Nam Tae-hee gave his team the perfect start when he scored after only one minute at their match in Oman. FC Seoul striker Kim Hyun-sung doubled the Koreans' advantage in the 68th minute before Kim Min-woo, who plays his club football in Japan's lower leagues with Sagan Tosu, adding the third just four minutes later.
In Manama, Mohamed Tayeb al-Alawi scored a brace for Bahrain to beat Syria and leave the teams tied for second, three points behind Japan.
Al-Alawi scored the opener in the 12th minute before netting the winner on the stroke of full time after substitute Ahmad al-Douni had equalized for Syria with four minutes left.
Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host, fell behind in the 12th minute after defender Ahmed Ali Walibi scored a penalty. But the home side were on level terms two minutes from the interval courtesy of skipper Hasan al-Haydos. Naser Nabeel sealed the victory 12 minutes from time.
In Kuala Lumpur, Japan rebounded from a shock loss to Syria by overwhelming Malaysia.
Hiroki Sakai opened the scoring in the 35th minute before Yuya Osako added the second a minute from halftime. Genki Haraguchi made it 3-0 10 minutes into the second half before debutant Manabu Saito sealed the win on the hour mark with his first goal for the Olympic team.
- Already impressing: Utah Jazz rookie Dante...
- Midseason recap and awards for BYU and Utah
- Mired in 3-game losing streak, BYU preparing...
- Utah Jazz give key starters a break in 98-91...
- Booker-ing ram and broken dreams: Midseason...
- Amy Donaldson: Not deciding on a starting...
- Report: Former BYU receiver Cody Hoffman to...
- Utes continue Pac-12 'meat grinder' with...
- Utes top Oregon State in double overtime 114
- Nevada rallies to beat BYU, 42-35 68
- Dick Harmon: BYU amasses yards but... 49
- Mired in 3-game losing streak, BYU... 46
- FBS football coaches vote BYU most... 32
- Peavler: Penalties out of control at BYU 28
- Brad Rock: Utes have their star in... 27
- College football: Utah rises to No. 19... 25