By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Australia confirmed their place in the third phase of Asia's 2022 World Cup qualifiers with a 3-0 win over 10-man Nepal in Kuwait that ensured they will win Group B.
Graham Arnold's side join Japan, Syria and South Korea in the third phase of the preliminaries, where 12 nations will compete for the continent's four guaranteed places at the finals.
The winners in seven of the eight qualifying groups advance to the next round alongside the five runners-up with the best records.
World Cup hosts Qatar have secured top spot in Group E but will not progress to the third round as they already have an automatic place at the finals.
The Socceroos made light work of the Nepalese, with Matthew Leckie giving Arnold's side a sixth minute lead before Fran Karacic doubled the advantage in the 38th.
Rohit Chand's red card before halftime made matters even more difficult for Nepal and the Australians put the result beyond doubt through Martin Boyle in the 57th minute.
Jordan's 0-0 draw with Kuwait in the other Group B game leaves both nations battling for second place with one match remaining.
Vietnam need a draw in their final Group G against the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to progress after Que Ngoc Hai's 83rd minute penalty earned a 2-1 win over Malaysia to maintain their unbeaten second-round run.
Park Hang-seo's side remain two points clear of the Bert van Marwijk-coached Emiratis, who hammered Indonesia 5-0 to maintain the pressure on the South East Asians and give themselves a chance of climbing into top spot.
Kaveh Rezaei scored twice as Iran thrashed Cambodia 10-0 in Bahrain to keep their hopes of winning Group C alive ahead of a meeting with neighbours Iraq on Tuesday.
Iran are in second place two points behind Srecko Katanec's side after the Iraqis handed Hong Kong a 1-0 defeat.
A draw will be enough to earn Iraq top spot in the group while anything other than a win would leave Iran sweating on the outcome of games elsewhere to determine whether they advance.
In Group A, China handed the Maldives a 5-0 thrashing to guarantee second place behind Syria, with the pair due to meet on Tuesday in a game the Chinese must win to enhance their qualification prospects.
Late goals from Saudi Arabia's Salem Al Dawsari, Fahad Al Muwallad and Saleh Al Shehri secured a 3-0 winover Singapore that keeps them two points head of Uzbekistan in Group D.
Uzbekistan beat Yemen 1-0 thanks to Jaliloddin Masharipov's penalty and the sides meet with top spot at stake on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ken Ferris)