World Cup begins in Asia as Bhutan win first-ever qualifying game

Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia began on Thursday with preliminary ties between the 12 lowest-ranked nations in Asia.

Bhutan created the story of the day, as the small Himalayan kingdom kicked off their first-ever attempt to reach the World Cup by producing a shock 1-0 away win in Sri Lanka.

Tshering Dorji struck nine minutes from time, converting a pass from captain Karma Shedrup Tshering, to give Bhutan a first-leg lead before the return in their capital Thimpu on March 17.

"We will celebrate today, but we are also preparing for the next challenge," Bhutan coach Chokey Nima told AFP.

Bhutan are the lowest-ranked nation in the FIFA Ranking, sitting in 209th, with Sri Lanka 174th.

India defeated Nepal 2-0 in their opener in Guwahati as Sunil Chhetri scored both goals both also missed a penalty.

Earlier in the day, Chiquito Do Carmo of Timor-Leste had the honour of scoring the very first goal on the road to Russia in a 4-1 victory at home to Mongolia.

Yemen won 3-1 against Pakistan, Abdulwasea Al Matari, Mohammed Boqshan and Ala Al Sasi scoring for the hosts.

Cambodia beat Macau 3-0 with the help of two goals from Chan Vathanaka, while Brunei won 1-0 away in Chinese Taipei with Adi Said's first-half strike.

The second-leg matches will be on Tuesday, with the winners advancing to the second round, as well as the next round of qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup.