Iran beat Bahrain ahead of Qatar clash
Melbourne: Ehsan Hajsafi scored an early contender for goal of the tournament as Iran made the perfect start to their bid to finally land a record-equalling fourth AFC Asian Cup title after posting a hard-fought 2-0 win over Bahrain in Group C on Sunday.
Bahrain had made a lively start to the contest, but after Iran improved as the half progressed, Hajsafi’s eye-catching strike opened the scoring for Team Melli in first half stoppage time.
And with Masoud Shojaei adding a second with 19 minutes remaining, 1968, 1972 and 1976 winners Iran joined the United Arab Emirates at the top of the Group C table after the opening round of fixtures following their earlier 4-1 win over Gulf Cup champions Qatar in Canberra.
Iran will now travel to Sydney to play Qatar in the second round on January 15.