Iran are up and running in the second-round qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after recording a routine 2-0 win over Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Fielding a side brimming with their Europe-based contingent, Team Melli never looked in any chance of not picking up maximum points.
For all their early possession, it did take them awhile to get going but they duly opened the scoring in the 23rd minute.
After Hong Kong failed to fully clear their lines, Milad Mohammadi drilled the ball back into the area and it was touched on by Karim Ansarifard into the path of Sardar Azmoun, who found the back of the net with a sweetly-struck volley.
Nine minutes into the second half, Iran wrapped up the win after a brilliant piece of skill by Alireza Jahanbakhsh saw him produce a lovely turn to escape his marker and break free down the right, before he played in a low cross for Ansarifard to finish off.
HONG KONG: Yapp Hung Fai, Tong Kin Man (Kwan Cheng Siu 63’), Helio, Andy Russell, Dani Cancela, Law Tsz Chun (Keung Chung Wai 69’), Tsui Wang Kit, Roberto, Huang Yang, Tan Chun Lok, James Ha (Alex Akande 72’).
IRAN: Alireza Beiranvand, Ramin Rezaeian, Majid Hosseini, Hossein Kanaanizadegan, Milad Mohammad, Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Ashkan Dejagah 87’), Omid Ebrahimi (Ali Karimi 70’), Ehsan Hajsafi, Mehdi Torabi (Vahid Amiri 60’), Karim Ansarifard, Sardar Azmoun.
Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation