China slips to 2018 World Cup qualifier defeat against Iran

Press TV- The Iran men’s national soccer team has recorded another deserved victory in the third round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament, defeating China in a home game.

On Tuesday evening, the Iranian squad, domestically known as Team Melli, celebrated a 1-0 win over Team Dragon at the end of a Group A fixture in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.

The white clad Iranian players started the match in a dominant fashion amid tumultuous applause from spectators at the packed stadium, and Mehdi Taremi, who plays as a forward for Persian Gulf Pro League club Persepolis, nearly scored in a one-on-one situation with China goalie Zeng Cheng.

The Iranian striker’s effort, however, did not produce any result in terms of goals as a Chinese defender intervened and cleared away the ball from the goalmouth, forcing the ball into corner.

The hosts found another wonderful chance in the 8th minute, when 29-year-old Reza Ghoochannejad unleashed a strong shot. Zeng did all he could to pull off a save and tip the ball over for another corner.

Another Iranian serious threat before the half hour mark came in the 20th minute. Alireza Jahanbakhsh picked up a pass behind China’s defense and fired a shot. His shot did not find the target though, and went over the bar by inches.

Only three minutes before the end of the first period, Taremi struck an overhead kick toward the visitors’ goal in an attempt to score. The effort failed to open the scoring and both teams went into the cloakrooms tied at nil.

The photo shows a view of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match between Iran (players in white) and China at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, on March 28, 2017.

Taremi scored the only goal of the game just seconds after the start of the second half, when his low shot from eight yards out slipped under the Chinese goalkeeper.

The final result gave Carlos Queiroz’s men their fifth win in seven games.

Team Melli is scheduled to face the Uzbek national football team at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on June 12.

Iran is pitted against South Korea, Uzbekistan, China, Qatar and Syria in Group A of the third round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament.

Asian powerhouse Japan is drawn in Group B, and has joined Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Thailand.

The winner and runner-up of each group (four teams in total) will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while the third-placed teams of each group (two teams in total) will head to the play-off round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The winner of the Asian play-off round will then face twice the fourth-placed squad in the fifth round of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) qualifying games.