May 27, 2024

Iran rout Iraq in World Cup qualifying to continue Skocic’s amazing run

DOHA, QATAR - MARCH 23: Sardar Azmoun (L) and Mehdi Taremi of Iran celebrate after first goal during Qatar against Iran - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier on March 23, 2017 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images)

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2,117 views – DOHA, Iran made it nine wins in as many games under Croat Dragan Skocic’s reign, as they comfortably downed rivals Iraq 3-0 in Doha in a World Cup qualifying.

A 1-2 loss against Iraq had ended Marc Wilmots’ short spell at helm and paved the way for Skocic, but it wasn’t close to this upset when the two teams met again in the next round.

Sardar Azmoun returned to the lineup after serving his one-match suspension versus Syria and Omid Nourafkan, Sadegh Moharrami and Saeid Ezatollahi started as well, while Ali Gholizadeh, Saman Ghoddos, Jafar Salmani and Milad Sarlak had to make space.

Team Melli had the best possible start when left-back Nourollahi inscened Mehdi Taremi on the left flank, who made himself space and found Alireza Jahanbakhsh with a left-footed cross, who headed the ball into goal after just three minutes.

Iran took a bit more of a laid-back approach aftwerwards, barely being troubled by Iraq but also not strongly pushing for a second goal, except Azmoun failing to capitalize on a good occassion.

This was almost punished by Iraq early into the second half as they thought they equalized which would have been their only real scoring opportunity of the game, but the goal was rightfully denied due to a clear offside position.

And it was Iran who added one more to the scoresheet after 69 minutes when Azmoun’s hopeful ball forward found Tarmi, who controlled and secured the ball extremely well before slotting home from close range.

Substitutes Karim Ansarifard and Gholizadeh then combined well in injury time to add the 3-0 which keeps Iran in the driving seat in the group with the maximum of points after two games, two points ahead of South Korea.