Reuters – AL AIN, Iran sealed their place in the knockout phase of the Asian Cup on Saturday as Carlos Queiroz’s side claimed a 2-0 win over Vietnam, while Iraq also booked their spot in the next round of the continental championship.
Iraq’s comfortable 3-0 win over debutants Yemen saw them join Iran in advancing from group D before the pair face off on Wednesday to determine who finishes in top spot in the standings ahead of the Round of 16.
Sardar Azmoun scored twice for the Iranians, who are looking to win the title for the first time since 1976, against a valiant Vietnam in a game in which Queiroz made three changes to the side that won their opener against Yemen.
“I believe that you need to have your entire squad ready to make a contribution at any moment,” said Queiroz.
“You can win games with starting line-ups but you win championships with squads. My duty as a coach is to keep the 23 players positive and with a constructive attitude.”
Azmoun put Iran ahead seven minutes before the break when he headed home Saman Ghoddos’s lofted cutback from close range.
The Rubin Kazan forward then put the result beyond doubt in the 69th minute when he held off the Vietnamese defence before slotting into the bottom corner of Dang Van Lam’s goal.