Coach : Amir GHALENOEI
A 2-0 win over Korea Republic earned Iran top spot in Group B in AFC Asian Cup qualifying on Wednesday night.
TEHRAN - Second half goals from Reza Enyati and Hossein Badamaki gave Iran a 2-0 victory over Korea Republic on Wednesday which saw the three-time Asian Cup winners finish their 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign at the top of Group B.
After a scoreless first half, Enyati opened the scoring three minutes after the restart but the Iranians had to wait until the final minute before making the game safe through Badamaki.
Despite having already secured safe passage to next year's continental finals Iran coach Amir Ghalenoei sent out a near full-strength side with only skipper Mehdi Mahdavikia, injured while on duty for club side Hamburg, and defensive stalwart Rahman Rezaei, who plays his club football in Italy's Serie A with Livorno, conspicuous by their absence.
Ghalenoei's counterpart Pim Verbeek, meanwhile, took advantage of Korea Republic's Asian Cup qualification to field a mixture of fringe players and members of the Asian Games squad and this lack of experience told as Iran dominated the first half.
Alireza Vahedinikbakht almost gave Iran the lead after just two minutes but the Perspolis winger's half-volley cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and bounced on the wrong side of the goal line for the vast majority of the fans in the Azadi Stadium's liking.
Iran continued to pressure the Koreans but after the Germany-based duo of Bayern Munich's Ali Karimi and Hannover's Vahid Hashemian had both come close, the visitors almost snatched the lead just before half-time.
Iran goalkeeper Hassan Roudbarian did well to block a swerving free-kick from Lee Chun-soo but the Pas number one needed a teammate fortuitously positioned on the line to stop Kim Dong-jin firing home the rebound.
Three minutes after the interval the home side took the lead when Reza Enyati powered past two Korean defenders to head home a pinpoint cross from Bolton Wanderers' midfielder Andranik Teymourian.
The goal brought the Koreans to life and they fashioned a number of chances before Persepolis midfielder Badamaki settled the nerves when he charged forward to slip the ball past Korean keeper Kim Young-kwang.