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MD3 Preview - Group C: IR Iran out to maintain perfect start

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Kuala Lumpur: The Islamic Republic of Iran will be aiming to make it two wins from two when they host Cambodia in Tehran on Thursday.

The Iranians began their latest Continental campaign with a 2-0 win away at Hong Kong on Matchday Two of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, a result which has left the East Asians – who are set to play Iraq – propping up the Group C table.

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Iran will be without the services of Alireza Jahanbakhsh after the striker was omitted from the squad named by head coach Marc Wilmots ahead of this week’s clash with Cambodia and the October 15 trip to Bahrain.

Jahanbakhsh, a key performer in Iran’s success against Hong Kong on Matchday Two, has not featured for English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion since picking up an injury while away with Team Melli.

Matchday Three - Preview: Group C

Despite the striker’s enforced absence, Wilmots will be encouraged by the form of livewire frontman Sardar Azmoun who shone brightly for his country when Iran reached the semi-finals of this year’s AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

The 24-year-old is currently attracting headlines aplenty thanks to a string of notable displays for club side Zenit St. Petersburg – not least in the UEFA Champions League where he has scored two goals in as many games.

For their part, Cambodia arrive for the game needing to avoid defeat and desperate to reignite a campaign which has seen the Southeast Asians garner just one point from their opening two matches.

After their test at Tehran’s iconic Azadi Stadium, Cambodia are scheduled to entertain Iraq in Phnom Penh next Tuesday.

Venue: Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Kick-off: 17:00 (UTC +3.30)


بانتظار عدنان وسولاقا .. غدا منتخبنا الوطني اجرى مرانه الاول وجلال يحل بدلا عن ياسين البصرة / اثير الشويلي/ اعلام...

Posted by Iraqi Football Association on Monday, 7 October 2019


Iraq will look to make the most of familiar surroundings when they entertain Hong Kong at what is expected to be an atmospheric Basra International Stadium.

Under the wily guidance of head coach Srečko Katanec, Iraq opened their account with a point following Mohanad Ali’s late goal in a 1-1 draw away at current Group C leaders Bahrain on Matchday One.

Despite the last gasp nature of that result in Manama, the 2007 AFC Asian Cup title winners head into this week’s game installed by many as favourites to seal all three points against Hong Kong – a side ranked 64 places below them.

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#AsianQualifiers group standings after Matchday Two! . 🎈 Singapore top Group D ❤️ India pick up first point against Qatar 2️⃣ goals each - Ali Mabkhout, Ai Kesen and Mathew Leckie in campaign opener

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Much of that optimism is based on the team’s performance at UAE 2019 where, although they only reached the Round of 16 – Iraq emerged as one of the tournament’s more impressive outfits.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong appear set to face yet another stern examination in the wake of their draw with Cambodia and loss to Iran on Matchdays One and Two respectively.

Venue: Basra International Stadium, Basra
Kick-off: 19:00 (UTC +3)

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