Iran’s perfect start to the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday as they were beaten 1-0 by Bahrain at the Bahrain National Stadium.
Coming off the back of last Thursday’s emphatic 14-0 thrashing of Cambodia, Iran would have been confident in their chances of making it three wins in a row.
However, despite fielding their strongest XI, Team Melli were faced with much resistance from a spirited Bahrain outfit who also looked dangerous on the counter.
As the game wore on, the hosts could have been forgiven for being increasingly content with a share of the spoils but a twist was to come shortly after the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty.
Despite the pressure, Mohammed Al-Hardan kept a cool head to send Alireza Beiranvand the wrong way from the spot to net what proved to be the winning goal.
With the result, Bahrain are now level with Iraq at the top of Group C on seven points, while Iran are a point off the pace in third.
BAHRAIN: Sayed Jaffar, Ahmed Bughammar (Sayed Redha Isa 80’), Sayed Baqer, Abdulla Al-Haza’a, Waleed Al-Hayam, Mohammed Al-Hardan, Jasim Al-Shaikh (Ali Haram 90+2’), Abdulwahab Al-Malood, Sayed Dhiya Saeed, Mahdi Al-Humaidan (Kamil Al-Aswad 74’), Abdulla Yusuf Helal.
IRAN: Alireza Beiranvand, Ramin Rezaeian, Hossein Kanaanizadegan, Majid Hosseini, Milad Mohammadi, Mehdi Taremi, Omid Ebrahimi (Ahmad Nourollahi 74’), Ehsan Hajsafi, Mohammad Mohebi (Mehrdad Mohammadi 60’), Sardar Azmoun, Karim Ansarifard (Vahid Amiri 71’).
Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation