Tehran: Iran consolidated their position at the top of Group E in the third round of Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 6-0 battering of Bahrain, who played with ten men for almost the entire match.
Bahrain coach Peter Taylor had said before Tuesday's match at the Azadi Stadium that Iran were the favourites to take one of the two places in the next qualifying phase from Group E and considered a draw to be an excellent result for the Gulf kingdom.
However, any hopes that Bahrain harboured about taking something from the game all but evaporated in the first minute of the match when defender Rashed Al Hooti was red carded before the home side made the most of their numerical advantage and took a 3-0 lead by half-time.
Jalal Hosseini broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute before Mojtaba Jabari added to the Sepahan stopper's opener with Iran's second 12 minutes later.
Team Melli took a three-goal cushion into the break when Hadi Aghili, a former team-mate of Hosseini's at Sepahan before he moved to Qatar's Al Arabi this year, scored his second of the qualifiers with three minutes of the first-half left to play.
Andranik Timotian made it 4-0 in the 62nd minute before Karim Ansarifard weighed in with Iran's fifth with quarter-of-an-hour remaining.
But the scoring didn't stop there as Gholamreza Rezaei got his name on the score sheet in the 83rd minute to completed the emphatic win for Carlos Quieroz's side, who top the table at the halfway stage of the qualifiers with seven points, two more than Qatar who notched up their first win of the competition with an impressive 3-2 win in Indonesia in Tuesday's other Group E fixture.