Iran ease to win over defensive Hong Kong

Iran ease to win over defensive Hong Kong...
msn.com 11/09/2019 Sports

Keywords:#AFC, #AFC_Champions_League, #Afghanistan, #Arab, #Arabia, #Asia, #Australia, #Azadi, #Azadi_Stadium, #Bahrain, #Bangladesh, #Blue_Girl, #Brazil, #Cambodia, #Champions_League, #China, #Chinese, #Doha, #Emirates, #Esteghlal, #Guam, #Hong_Kong, #India, #Indonesia, #Iran, #Iranian, #Japan, #Karim_Ansarifard, #Korea, #Kuala, #Kuala_Lumpur, #Kuwait, #Malaysia, #Maldives, #Marc_Wilmots, #Marcello_Lippi, #Masoud_Shojaei, #Mongolia, #Msn.com, #Myanmar, #Nepal, #North_Korea, #Palestine, #Philippines, #Qatar, #Reuters, #Sahar_Khodayari, #Sardar_Azmoun, #Saudi, #Saudi_Arabia, #Singapore, #South_Korea, #Sri_Lanka, #Syria, #Taiwan, #Tajikistan, #Team_Melli, #Tehran, #Thailand, #Turkmenistan, #United_Arab_Emirates, #World_Cup, #Yemen

By Michael Church
HONG KONG, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Iran made a winning start to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Hong Kong on Tuesday while Brazil-born striker Elkeson scored twice on his debut for China in a 5-0 win over the Maldives
Seeking a sixth World Cup appearance and third in a row, Iran picked up maximum points in their Group C opener after seeing off a determined and defensive Hong Kong, whose jeering fans drowned out the Chinese national anthem before kick off.
Sardar Azmoun gave Iran the lead midway through the first half with a low volley into the bottom corner before Karim Ansarifard secured the win with a side-footed finish nine minutes after the break.
"We gained three points from this match, so I think it was a positive result," said coach Marc Wilmots, who was taking charge of his first competitive game for Iran.
"We encountered a wall of defence from the Hong Kong team but we were able to score two goals and had opportunities to score more.
"This is the beginning of our preparations and we will get better day-by-day."
Iran are a point behind group leaders Bahrain, who won away to Cambodia 1-0, but have played one game more.
The game took place a day after the news of death of an female Iranian soccer fan surfaced. Known as the Blue Girl, Sahar Khodayari was an Iranian football fan of Esteghlal FC. She self-immolated, in protest of her prison sentence, in front of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.She tried to enter Azadi Stadium for a match of AFC Champions League between Esteghlal and Al-Ain FC, disguised herself as a man, but security guards arrested her and later the Revolutionary Court sentenced her to six months in prison. In opposition to her prison sentence, she burned herself in front of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. The Blue Girl died in hospital one week after she self-immolated because of third-degree burns (TBSA burned of 90 percent with inhalation injury). Her death drew a strong expression among some local football stars and known figures and international players and football authorities.
Elkeson made his debut for China after switching nationality and the Guangzhou Evergrande striker scored twice -- including one from the penalty spot -- as Marcello Lippi's side eased to victory over the Maldives in Male in Group A.
The Chinese are now level on three points with the Philippines, who bounced back from their opening-round loss against Syria to thrash Guam 4-1.
Japan, another of Asia's World Cup regulars, also picked up a 2-0 win as goals from Shoya Nakajima and Takumi Minamino were enough to see off Myanmar in Yangon in Group F. Tajikistan top the group after they picked up a second straight win with a 1-0 victory in Mongolia.
In Group G, the United Arab Emirates fought back from going a goal down after 33 seconds to defeat Malaysia 2-1 in Kuala Lumpur thanks to a brace from Ali Mabkhout.
Bert van Marwijk's side join the Malaysians on three points and trail group leaders Thailand by a point after Akira Nishino's team beat Indonesia 3-0 in Jakarta.
Yemen led twice against Saudi Arabia and were dreaming of major shock against the five-times World Cup qualifiers, but Salem Al Dawsari earned Herve Renard's side a 2-2 draw in their Group D opener. Singapore, meanwhile, pulled off a 2-1 victory over Palestine.
Australia secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Kuwait in their first qualifier in Group B while Anjan Bista scored twice as Nepal handed Taiwan a 2-0 defeat.
In Group E, India held Asian champions Qatar to a 0-0 draw in Doha and Afghanistan notched up a 1-0 victory over Bangladesh.
Jang Kuk Chol scored the only goal as North Korea defeated Sri Lanka to move onto six points in Group H, three ahead of South Korea, who kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 win over Turkmenistan.
The eight group winners and the four best runners-up advance to the third round of qualification.

---Iran made a winning start to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Hong Kong on Tuesday while Brazil-born striker Elkeson scored twice on his debut for China in a 5-0 win over the Maldives. ---...

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