SINGAPORE (AFP) - Uzbekistan and Oman grabbed dramatic late victories to fire into the 2015 Asian Cup Tuesday but China's fate was left hanging in the balance after a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia.
Oman left it until the first minute of injury time to secure their 1-0 win over Syria, while Uzbekistan scored twice in the last six minutes to beat Hong Kong 2-0.
The results mean Oman and Uzbekistan, who were semi-finalists in 2011, become the eighth and ninth teams to reach the 2015 tournament in Australia.
The hosts, defending champions Japan, North and South Korea, UAE, Bahrain and the Saudis were already confirmed, with another three teams capable of joining them on Tuesday.
However, China must wait until their tough final qualifier away to Iraq in March before learning whether they will make it to their 11th successive Asian Cup.
The team led by caretaker manager Fu Bo and watched by his mooted successor, Guangzhou Evergrande boss Marcello Lippi, made all the running in Xian but just failed to deliver the killer blow.
Guangzhou right-back Zhang Linpeng had a strong late penalty shout turned down and his club team-mate Huang Bowen put a free-kick inches wide with the last kick of the game.
Meanwhile pool rivals Iraq beat Indonesia 2-0 in Jakarta to pull within two points of China, who currently occupy Group C's second automatic qualifying spot behind leaders Saudi Arabia.
In Tehran, the city hosting war-torn Syria's "home" fixture, the game looked to be heading for a goalless draw before Eid Al Farsi's first-time finish on 91 minutes grabbed Oman's vital win.
Uzbekistan also left it perilously late in Hong Kong before Vokhid Shodiev and Odil Ahmedov ensured their qualification along with UAE in Group E.
Three-time Asian champions Iran and Qatar, hosts of the 2022 World Cup, both need only draws to progress later when they face Lebanon and Malaysia respectively.
Kuwait will also go make it to the quadrennial showpiece if they beat Thailand, as long as Iran also win in what is the penultimate full round of games.