Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Wollongong: Sardar Azmoun scored the only goal of the game as Iran picked up a 1-0 win over Iraq at WIN Stadium on Sunday evening as the two nations played out their final friendly match ahead of the start of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.
Azmoun (pictured) struck 10 minutes into the second half for an Iran side that had the better of a cagey start to the game.
On two occasions, shots were sent over the bar from close range: the first came from Vahid Amiry while the second by Vorya Ghafouri, much to the chagrin of the large band of Iranian fans who turned out for the game.
In the 55th minute, Azmoun claimed what was to turn out to be the only goal of the game when he broke through the Iraqi defence to poke the ball into the net with the outside of his foot before wheeling away to celebrate wildly with the Iranian bench.
Minutes later Iran coach Carlos Queiroz switched goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand for Mohsen Forooznan, and the new custodian immediately was put under pressure as Iraq were awarded a penalty.
However, Younus Mahmood skied his penalty kick over the bar to waste the opportunity to equalise.
Five minutes later Mahmood had another golden opportunity from close range, but this time he was denied by the near post.
Both coaches made changes as the second half wore on, but it made little difference to the result as Iran claimed the victory. Vahid Amiry could have put the result beyond doubt for Iran in the final moments but his shot was scooped over the crossbar.
Iran kick off their attempt to win a record-equalling fourth AFC Asian Cup in Melbourne on January 11 when they take on Bahrain in Group A while the Iraqis meet Jordan in Brisbane on January 12 in their first game in Group D.