April 24, 2024

Iran defeats Turkmenistan to advance to 3rd round of 2026 WCQ’s [VIDEO]

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The-AFC.com – ASHGABAT, Islamic Republic of Iran advanced to the third round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers and booked their place at the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ after defeating Turkmenistan 1-0 in Group E of the Preliminary Joint Qualification – Round 2 on Tuesday.

Coach Amir Ghalenoei’s men had strolled to a 5-0 victory when the two teams met at Azadi Stadium on Thursday and following Uzbekistan’s win over Hong Kong, China earlier in the day, they needed just a win to confirm qualification.

Arslanmyrat Amanov nearly gave the home side the lead in the 37th minute when he collected the ball down the right flank and aimed for the near post with a low strike which could have left Hossein Hosseini red faced, but the Iranian goalkeeper reacted quickly to change direction and make the save.

The 33-year-old goalkeeper’s skills were required to avoid another awkward moment seconds later when Saeid Ezatolahi overhit his back pass, but Hosseini managed to clear it away.

The deadlock was finally broken deep into added time of the first half when Hossein Kanaani sent a trademark diagonal pass for Mehdi Taremi who climbed highest to nod it into the path of Mehdi Ghayedi to rifle on the half volley past the Turkmen goalkeeper for the opener.

Team Melli thought they had scored a wonder goal midway through the second half when Mohammad Mohebi embarked on a mazy run from the right, before exchanging a one-two with Taremi and firing towards the bottom corner, but goalkeeper Rustem Ahallyyev produced a fine save to deny him.

The hosts’ biggest chance of the second half came through Sanazar Tirkisow who took possession of the ball on the edge of the area and aimed for the top corner, but narrowly missed the target.

The result means Iran join Uzbekistan in the next round and in Saudi Arabia 2027, with both teams sitting on 10 points, while Turkmenistan remain level with Hong Kong, China on one point.