Sunday, March 18, 2018 | ePaper
Iran qualify for World Cup with win over Uzbekistan
Iran became the second team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by beating Uzbekistan 2-0 late Monday, sparking celebrations in the streets.
It is the first time Iran has qualified for consecutive World Cups, and will be its fifth appearance at soccer's marquee tournament.
Sardar Azmoun scored in the 23rd minute and Mehdi Taremi in the 88th at Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
Iran, managed by former Real Madrid and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz since 2011, tops Group A of Asian qualifying. The team is unbeaten from eight games and eight points clear of third-placed Uzbekistan with two qualifiers remaining, so cannot be denied a top-two finish and an automatic spot in Russia next year.
South Korea is in second place, a point ahead of Uzbekistan with a game in hand.Iran has yet to concede a goal in qualifying in a run which has renewed the confidence with fans.
Vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri was present at the stadium for the game, among the almost 60,0000 supporters celebrating when the referee blew full-time.