World Cup finalists Iran picked up three points against Group B rivals Chinese Taipei at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Wednesday to kick-start their quest for a place in AFC Asian Cup 2007 with a convincing 4-0 victory.
Ali Daei scored Iran's fourth and final goal against Chinese Taipei [WSG]
TEHRAN - World Cup finalists Iran picked up three points against Group B rivals Chinese Taipei at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Wednesday to kick-start their quest for a place in AFC Asian Cup 2007 with a convincing 4-0 victory.
Missing their European contingent and fielding only one non-domestic based player - Sharjah's Javad Nekounam - manager Branko Ivankovic took the opportunity to bring several new faces into his squad to face the East Asian minnows.
Vahid Talebloo, Andranik Teymourian, Mojtaba Jabbari and Rassoul Khatibi were all newcomers to the Team Melli squad and it was Teymourian who gave his side the lead in the 36th minute.
The Iranians - three-time Asian champions and semi-finalists in 2004 -dominated proceedings from the start with Ali Daei, Hossein Kaabi and Mojtaba Jabbari all going close in the opening 20 minutes.
But Teymourian's powerful shot gave Iran the lead and the reigning Asian Games gold medallists never looked back.
Mehrzad Madanchi replaced Saeed Alavi at half-time and had an immediate impact on the game, linking well with Sattar Zare down the left side to double Iran's advantage less than two minutes after the restart.
Chinese Taipei finally earned an effort on goal five minutes shy of the hour mark but Iranian defender Yahya Golmohammadi was on hand to deal with the danger and by the 60th minute Iran's domination was all but complete.
Jabbari's lofted ball was met by Khatibi, whose pass set up Madanchi for his second of the evening as Iran barely moved out of first gear against a team ranked 157th in the world.
The introduction of in-form Perspolis winger Javad Kazemian 15 minutes from time gave the Iranians an added boost and it was not long before the Persians had extended their lead.
Veteran striker and world football's leading international goal scorer Ali Daei added the fourth eight minutes from time when he met Jabbari's pass, the former Bayern Munich man continuing to score goals despite being just one month shy of his 37th birthday.