Iran, Iraq advance
Iran and Iraq advanced to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup on Saturday with a game to spare.
Three-time champion Iran beat Vietnam 2-0 and secured its spot in the round of 16 when 2015 semifinalist Iraq beat Yemen 3-0 in another Group D game.
Another three-time champion, Saudi Arabia, moved closer to gaining its spot in the next round after beating Lebanon 2-0 in Group E.
With two wins each, Iran and Iraq meet in Dubai on Wednesday to decide the group winner.
Saudi Arabia meets Qatar on Thursday to close the group stage in a highly charged game amid the political tensions between the two nations.
The top two teams in each group and the four best thirdplaced teams advance to the round of 16.
It was a record ninth successive victory for Iran in Asian Cup group matches. Asia’s top-ranked team has dominated possession and looked comfortable in its opening two games, scoring seven goals without conceding.
Iran’s Sardar Azmoun took care of the goals against Vietnam, scor- ing in each half.
Saman Ghoddos crossed for the forward to put Iran ahead with a close-range header before halftime. Azmoun added his second in the 69th with a left-footed strike from the middle of the box for his third goal at the tournament.
Vietnam lost a second straight match after falling to Iraq 3-2.
Iran is led by former Real Madrid and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, who is chasing a major title with Iran after eight years in charge.
In Sharjah, Mohanad Ali Kadhim and Bashar Resan Bonyan scored with low shots from outside of the area early in the first half to give Iraq a comfortable advantage against Yemen. Substitute Alaa Abbas sealed it in second-half injury time. /
YES! Ali Albulayhi celebrates with goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais after Saudi Arabia scores the opener against Lebanon.