Iran were in ruthless mood on Thursday as they claimed a 14-0 win over Cambodia to move top of Group C in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Cambodia were always up against mighty odds against one of Asia’s giants at the Azadi Stadium, and it did not help that they fell behind after just five minutes when Ahmad Nourollahi unleashed a stunning 30-yard piledriver that swerved and dipped over Keo Soksela before going on off the underside of the bar.
Just six minutes later, Sardar Azmoun pounced on the rebound and steered a shot into the back of the net after Mohammad Mohebi’s initial effort had been blocked to make it 2-0, before Hossein Kanaanizadegan and Mehdi Taremi got in on the act to hand the hosts a four-goal lead by the 22nd minute.
Team Melli were clearly not in a charitable mood and Azmoun completed his hat-trick by halftime, while Karim Ansarifard was also on target.
The nightmare for Cambodia continued after the break as Ansarifard netted a hat-trick of his own in the second half alone to finish with four goals, and also played a delightful through-pass to help Taremi score his second.
In his first cap, Sepahan winger Mohammad Mohebi netted two goals in the space of three minutes after the hour mark before making way for fellow debutant Mehrdad Mohammadi, who also went on to score in the 85th minute to ensure his first international appearance will be one to remember.
IRAN: Alireza Beiranvand, Ramin Rezaeian, Morteza Pouraliganji, Hossein Kanaanizadegan, Milad Mohammadi, Mohammad Mohebi (Mehrdad Mohammadi 72’), Ahmad Nourollahi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Mehdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun (Masoud Shojaei 57’), Karim Ansarifard.
CAMBODIA: Keo Soksela, Sareth Krya, Ouk Sovann, Soeuy Visal, Cheng Meng (Ken Chansopheak 69’), Orn Chanpolin, Kouch Sokumpheak, Sos Suhana, Sath Rosib (Thierry Chantha Bin 69’), Prak Mony Udom (Sieng Chanthea 57’), Keo Sokpheng.
Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation