Coach : Afshin Ghotbi
A young China edged Iran 1-0 to give new coach Gao Hongbo his first victory in an international friendly at the Qinhuangdao Olympic Stadium here on Monday.
China held European runners-up Germany to a surprising 1-1 draw three days ago in Shanghai, which seemed to boost the side's morale greatly.
Striker Gao Lin took the winner at the end of the first half with a timely follow-up into the empty net after left back Rong Hao's 25-meter freekick was rebounded by the near post.
The 1-0 defeat at the hands of China in a friendly gave new Iran coach Afshin Ghotbi cause for concern five days ahead of their crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against DPR Korea in Pyongyang. From their rivalsâ€™ perspective, this was Chinaâ€™s first win under new coach Gao Hongbo after the hosts surprised Germany to a 1-1 draw three days ago in Shanghai.
Iran, who are in danger of missing the plane to South Africa, lie fourth in Group B of the qualifiers with six points from five games. Korea Republic top the pool with 11 points from five games. Striker Gao Lin tapped the ball inside the empty net at the end of the first half after Rong Haoâ€™s 25-metre freekick was rebounded by the near post. China could have doubled the advantage in the 73rd minute but defender He Yangâ€™s header rattled the crossbar.
"China showed their quality with two good results against Germany and us," said Ghotbi. "I think 1-0 is not a fair result. We could have at least got a draw. "We had more control of the game and created a lot of chances but conceded a goal due to a mistake."
China coach Gao Hongbo said: "I fielded several new faces and they were nervous in the first 15 minutes. They adjusted themselves quickly after that and I am happy with the result."
"They are very concentrated on the pitch, and showed the power of teamwork. But I'm not satisfied with the organization in defence, and we should quicken the passes."
Gao changed nine starters from the game with the Mannschaft, including some debutants like He Yang and Rong Hao. But the young team showed their energy with some disciplined defence and sharp attacks.
Defender He Yang nearly added the second for the hosts on 73 minutes, but his curved header following Zheng Zhi's right flank freekick rattled the crossbar.
Iran had only one clear chance in the 55th minute. Javad Kazemian dashed down along the right wing in a counter-attack and rounded a defender and keeper Zeng Cheng, before firing a low shot to be blocked by another Chinese fullback.
Iran is preparing for their next World Cup Asian qualifier against DPR Korea on June 6, and a
Chinese referee will be in charge of that game. Ghotbi didn't forget to take this chance to give some psychological hints.
"I don't want to speak about the referee, but he missed a 100 per cent penalty for us and a 100 per cent red card for China. Thankfully it's just a friendly. I hope when we play DPR Korea, the Chinese referee could be fair."