Iran, Iraq energy into Asian Cup knockout part

Iran, Iraq power into Asian Cup knockout phase

Sardar Azmoun netted each targets for in-form Iran

Iran sank Vietnam and Iraq beat Yemen because the neighbours and arch-rivals powered into the Asian Cup spherical of 16 on Saturday forward of their extremely anticipated group decider subsequent week.

Sardar Azmoun struck each targets in Iran’s 2-Zero win in Abu Dhabi, whereas teenager Mohanad Ali’s early solo strike kick-started Iraq’s 3-Zero victory in Sharjah.

Iran and Iraq will meet in Dubai on Wednesday to determine who tops Group D in a repeat of their flamable quarter-final of 2015, which Iraq gained on penalties.

Iran, seeking to finish a 43-year title drought since final successful Asian soccer’s most coveted prize, might have scored 4 or 5 however for some poor ending in Abu Dhabi.

“It is a pity our efficiency did not produce a pair extra targets,” Iran coach Carlos Queiroz advised reporters.

AFP / Karim Sahib
Teenager Mohanad Ali had a powerful recreation for Iraq

“However successful is the most effective drugs in soccer. To win two video games and rating seven targets — I’ve to reward my gamers as a result of I’m very demanding.”

Saman Ghoddos and Mehdi Taremi went shut for Asia’s top-ranked crew earlier than Azmoun rose to move house a Ghoddos cross after 38 minutes.

The Rubin Kazan ahead lashed in his third aim of the match from the sting of the field 20 minutes from time to offer Iran a file ninth successive first-round victory relationship again to 2007.

Co-favourites with South Korea to raise the Asian Cup, Iran crushed war-torn Yemen 5-Zero of their opening Group D recreation.

– ‘A finisher’ –

They have been indebted to goalkeeper Alireza Safar Beiranvand for a brave save from Nguyen Cong Phuong, however have been in any other case barely ruffled by the Southeast Asian champions.

“We simply must chill out extra,” mentioned Queiroz. “Within the second half our anxiousness to attain a 3rd aim led to some dangerous passes.”

Queiroz singled out Azmoun, who got here out of worldwide retirement for the Asian Cup.

“He is a finisher,” mentioned the Portuguese, now in his eighth 12 months as Iran coach.

“We’ve excessive hopes for him for this competitors. However the way in which the crew is contributing round him, and our motion within the final third, are very attention-grabbing.”

In Sharjah, 18-year-old Ali scored an exquisite solo aim to place Iraq 1-Zero up after 11 minutes, though questions should be raised of the Yemeni defence.

Pouncing on a free again go, Ali held off three defenders earlier than rifling his shot previous Jalal Hassan within the Yemen aim.

Bashar Resan doubled Iraq’s lead halfway by way of the primary half when his deflected shot drifted in off the upright with Hassan sluggish to get throughout.

Ali hit the publish in one of many uncommon highlights of the second half earlier than Alaa Abbas struck in harm time, ending sharply after Ahmed Yaseen’s header into his path.

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