Saturday, March 2, 2024

Iran 1 Hong Kong 0: Ghaedi books Iran’s Asian Cup knockouts spot

An unconvincing Iran toiled to a 1-0 win over Hong Kong at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Friday to progress to the knockout rounds of the 2023 Asian Cup.

On paper this fixture was among the biggest group-stage mismatches at the Qatar tournament, with Iran ranked 21st in the world to Hong Kong’s 150.

During the first half, Iranians dominated possession and were sharper in their attacks.

In the 24th minute, Mehdi Ghaedi put Iran ahead with an assist from Milad Mohammadi. Iran comfortably controlled the ball and went into halftime as the leaders.

The second half saw little change in the dynamics of the game, with Iranians maintaining ball possession and controlling the match.

Hong Kong managed only one shot in the second half and failed to create any significant goal-scoring opportunities.

Iran secured a minimal 1-0 victory, accumulating six points after two rounds and guaranteeing their place in the playoffs.

Hong Kong, who made their return to the Asian Cup after 56 years and are 129 spots below Iran in the rankings, remain winless and are bottom with no points after losing to UAE in their group opener.

Iran play UAE on Tuesday in their final group game which will effectively decide who tops the table and gets a more favourable draw in the knockout stage.

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