China held by Iran in World Cup qualifier

The People’s Republic of China were held to a 0-0 draw by Iran in their 2018 World Cup qualifying clash at the Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium on Tuesday.

It was the second match for these two sides in this Third Round of Asian qualifiers, with China having lost 3-2 to South Korea in their opener on Thursday as Iran defeated Qatar 2-0.

And it was Iran who created the first real chance of this tie with Chinese goalkeeper Zeng Cheng forced to pounce at the feet of Vahid Amiri as he raced through on goal.

But it was to be the keeper’s last involvement after getting injured in the challenge before being replaced by Gu Chao, on 12 minutes.

Iran’s Sardar Azmoun then did well to get his head to a cross from the right-hand side but his header glanced just wide of the left upright.

And the visitors continued to dominate the tie, with Azmoun coming close to finding an opener, after racing through on goal, only to see his effort squirm wide of the target.

Masoud Shojaei was next to test the Chinese defence, as he rose unchallenged inside the box, but could not direct his header on target.

China finally enjoyed a rare chance, midway through the opening 45 minutes, with Zhang Yuning turning well 25 yards from goal before smashing a shot just wide of the right-hand post.

After a forgettable first half, a more cohesive China emerged for the second, as they competed more ably with Iran, while Yuning saw an early shot deflected just over the target.

And China so nearly broke the deadlock as Wu Lei found some space for himself inside the Iran box, but he was ultimately denied by goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.

Chao then had to be at his best to deny Alizera Jahan Bakhsh from netting a late winner with a sprawling low dive to his right to tip away 20-yeard shot.

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