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Iran Books First AFC Ticket to 2022 FIFA World Cup, Raisi Hails Qualifying Win
By Staff, Agencies
Iran booked the first AFC ticket to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a third consecutive win in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar, edging past neighbor Iraq 1-0 at the Azadi Stadium on Thursday.
The result sees the national football team – also known as Team Melli – goes back to top the group after Korea Republic had temporarily snatched the lead with a win against Lebanon earlier in the day, the Iranians building an unassailable lead at the top that pulled them past the finish line with three games to go.
The deadlock was broken just two minutes after the break, when Ahmad Ibrahim attempted to intercept but missed Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s low through ball, allowing Mehdi Taremi a clear path on goal with the Team Melli forward dinking it just above Fahad Talib to pull his country ahead.
The result sees Iraq remains in fifth place with four points, with Iran topping the group with 19 points.
Iraq faces Lebanon away in four days, while Dragan Skocic’s men will remain in Tehran to take on the United Arab Emirates on the same day.
For his part, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi offered congratulations on the victory of Team Melli.
In a message to the Iranian nation on Thursday night, President Raisi congratulated Iran's national football team on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
“The consecutive and authoritative victories of our national football team in the qualifying round of the World Cup and qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, brought a wave of joy and happiness for the proud nation of Iran," he said.
“Congratulating this great success to the Supreme Leader and the proud people of Iran, which is the manifestation of the dynamism and glory of a nation, I sincerely thank all the valuable efforts of all managers, coaches and especially the capable players of the national football team,” the president added, according to his official website.
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