2022 FIFA World Cup qualification-Iran 3:1 Hong Kong
IR Iran and Hong Kong squared off in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 in Sheikh Ali Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium, Muharraq, Bahrain on Thursday. Hong Kong gave it a good fight but fell short to IR Iran by 1:3 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 Group C encounter.
IR Iran took control of the game right from the get-go. On the 16thminute, Sadegh Moharrami knocked a teasing cross into the Hong Kong box. Sardar Azmoun leapt high and nodded the ball towards goal, yet the ball took a deflection off a Hong Kong player and bounced out of play.
IR Iran kept the pressure coming and tested the Hong Kong defense once again. On the 18th minute, skipper Alireza Jahan Bakhsh sent the ball to the Hong Kong box and found teammate Saeid Ezatolahi. The latter side-footed a one-timer but sent the ball over the Hong Kong crossbar.
The West Asian side duly took the lead on the 23rd minute. Ali Gholi Zadeh fought off pressure from a Hong Kong player and penetrateddeep down the right wing. The IR Iran attacker then belted a left-foot curler towards goal and hit the back of the Hong Kong goal through the far side. IR Iran was up 1:0.
Hong Kong almost answered back on the counter-attack shortly afterwards, as Matthew Orr unloaded a cracking shot from just outside the IR Iran box but could not locate the intended target with his thunderous strike.
Late in the first half, IR Iran had successive chances to pull further away on the scoreboard. On the 43rd minute, Mehdi Taremiconnected with a teammate’s cross and dished out a one-timer towards the Hong Kong net, only to send the ball wide.
Moments later, Sardar Azmoun found himself on the receiving end of a teammate’s centering pass and nodded the ball towards the Hong Kong goal, only to witness his effort sailed over the crossbar.IR Iran was up by 1:0 heading into half time.
Early in the second half, IR Iran threatened the Hong Kong defense once again. On the 46th minute, Sardar Azmoun pulled the trigger on a left-footer from the edge of the Hong Kong box, only to fire the ball narrowly wide.
It was still IR Iran afterwards. On the 54th minute, a long pass reached Mehdi Teremi inside the Hong Kong penalty area. The IR Iran striker dished out a leaping header towards goal but failed to generate enough power to trouble goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai.
IR Iran made it 2:0 on the 61st minute. Vahid Amiri unloaded a cracking left-footer from the edge of the Hong Kong box. The ball took a deflection off a Hong Kong player and entered the net. IR Iran was comfortably in front past the hour mark.
The West Asian side generated another great scoring chance on the 68th minute. This time, Ali Gholi Zadeh unleashed a long-range shot but was smartly paved away by Yapp Hung-fai in the Hong Kong net, Sardar Azmoun went for the rebound but saw his tight angle shot courageously charged away by Yapp.
Hong Kong came up with a rare scoring opportunity on the 74thminute. Tong Kin-man floated a dangerous cross into the IR Iran penalty area. Substitute Chung Wai-keung applied a bouncing header but failed to hit the IR Iran net.
IR Iran added to its lead on the 84th minute. Mahdi Torabi did well on the left wing, beat a Hong Kong player with a slick move and delivered a low cross to the middle. Karim Ansari Fard buried the chance from doorstep and tucked the ball home, making it 3:0 in the process.
On the other end, Hong Kong quickly replied and got on the scoreboard. Wong Wai’s centering pass found Matthew Orr inside the IR Iran box. Orr sent a leaping header towards goal. The ball hit the crossbar but still managed to cross the goal-line.
Both sides failed to add to the score in the remaining regulation time, as Hong Kong fell to IR Iran 1:3 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 Group C encounter.