The Rubin Kazan striker had just recently left the senior national team training in order to enforce the u-19 selection and after coming on as halftime substitution in the first match, started the match versus Lebanon to score a brace and receive the MVP award.
Iran, host of the qualifying group games, and SaudiArabia will battle for the group win in Kerman on Saturday and the Saudis will need nothing less than a win in order to overtake Iran.
The top teams of the nine qualifying groups secure a spot at the final tournament whereas the six best second placed teams will join the group winners and hosts Thailand in the finals.
Iran had beaten Tajikistan 2-0 on matchday 1 on Tuesday while Saudi Arabia had celebrated a 2-1 win over Lebanon. But Saudi Arabia’s 5-0 thrashing of Tajikistan on Thursday put Iran under pressure to achieve a high-score win as well.
But the Persian Gulf giants stood up to the challenge and responded with goals from Ali Fathian, Armin Sohrabian (2), Sardar Azmoun (2) and Milad Sarlak to put themselves in the driving seat ahead of the crunch tie in two days. ...