Tiny Guam were able to celebrate their first-ever win in a World Cup qualifier on Friday after an early own goal gave the Pacific island side a 1-0 win over Turkmenistan.
Impoverished East Timor also left with a smile on their faces after holding Malaysia to a 1-1 draw in Kuala Lumpur, while the Philippines shocked Bahrain 2-1.
But there was no fairytale result for fellow minnows Cambodia and Bhutan, as they suffered heavy defeats in the second round of Asian qualifying late on Thursday.
Playing their first home World Cup qualifier, Guam clinched a historic win when Turkmenistan defender Serdar Annaorazov headed the ball into his net after 14 minutes.
The surprise result sent Guam, a United States island territory in the Western Pacific with a population of less than 200,000, temporarily to the top of Group D.
The result was a major shock especially since Guam’s last outing in the World Cup qualifiers in 2000, when they were hammered out of sight 19-0 by Iran and 16-0 by Tajikistan.
East Timor also grabbed an unexpected early point in Group A when Brazilian-born Ramon Saro scored a stoppage-time equaliser against Malaysia.
In Manila, unfancied Philippines also made a rousing start as they downed Bahrain 2-1 in their Group H opener at Philippines Sports Stadium.
Misagh Bahadoran stabbed in a cross by Phil Younghusband in the 50th minute and Javier Patino added a second after a goalmouth scramble, later before Abdulwahab Al Malood grabbed a consolation goal for Bahrain in stoppage time.
Cambodia were also seeking a positive start in front of their home fans at a packed Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, but found themselves instead on the wrong end of a 4-0 thumping by Singapore in Group E.
Khairul Amri opened the scoring after nine minutes and Safuwan Baharudin struck twice to put the visitors 3-0 up at half-time before Fazrul Nawaz added a fourth 10 minutes into the second half.
Bhutan also suffered a heavy defeat as they were hammered 7-0 by Hong Kong with Jaimes McKee scoring twice for the hosts in Group C.
Kyaw Zayar Win’s late equaliser earned Myanmar a 2-2 draw in their Group G opener in Laos, while Anton Zemlianukhin scored twice as Kyrgyzstan won 3-1 at Bangladesh in Group B.
Former Asian champions Kuwait got their qualifying campaign off to a great start when they defeated Lebanon 1-0 away thanks to an 86th-minute goal from Yousef Nasser.
But Lebanon will be left ruing their missed chances which could have changed the Group G result in their favour.
In Group D, Oman scored in the first minute before holding off a gritty Indian side for a 2-1 victory.
Qasim Said’s opener was cancelled out by Sunil Chetri’s stunning left-footed goal in the 26th minute. But Oman regained the lead after Amad Al Hosni converted a penalty in the 40th minute.
India put in a spirited performance and they had a goal disallowed in the 67th minute when India’s striker Robin Singh was ruled offside.
In the late matches, Syria went on a goal spree to thrash Afghanistan 6-0 with Raja Rafe scoring twice in their Group E clash.
In a Group H encounter, North Korea defeated Yemen by a solitary goal scored by So Hyon-uk in the 71st minute.
Hassan Mahmoud scored a treble to help Jordan defeat Tajikistan 3-1 with Manuchehr Dzhalilov scoring the consolation goal for the home side.
Qatar scraped past Maldives 1-0 in their Group C clash, thanks to a late goal by Ahmed Al Sayed.
And Saudi Arabia edged past Palestine 3-2 in Group A thanks to Mohammed Al Sahlawi’s winner deep into injury time.
A total of 14 matches were played late on Thursday in matches that serve as qualifiers for both the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE