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Sunday, June 21, 1998 Published at 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK


Sport: Football

Iran win puts US out

Iran and US in friendly mood before kick-off

Iran scored a famous victory in a thrilling performance against the USA in Lyon.

Defending a half-time lead, they broke away to score a second near the end before a late fightback from the Americans.

The final whistle triggered huge celebrations among the squad and their thousands of fans.

Iran now have an outside chance of making it through from Group F - but the USA are on their way home.

A flying header from Hamid Estili gave Iran a half-time lead against the run of play with the USA commanding possession early on.

Estili struck five minutes before the break to cap a thrilling first period in which both sides rattled the woodwork.

Symbolic match

In a game billed as a symbol of political tensions between the two nations, both teams shook hands and lined up for a joint photo before kick-off.

The USA took the initiative during the early stages of as Hejduk headed against the bar from six yards with the keeper stranded.

The USA showed good instinctive qualities around the penalty box and Reyna cracked the post with a crisp left-foot shot.

Having a close penalty appeal turned down, Iran took the lead when Estili placed his header in the top left-hand corner, away from the despairing dive of Keller.

The USA pressed in the second half but Iran broke out six minutes from time to seal a famous victory.

Mahdavikia, who was a constant threat, broke free on the left wing after the USA failed to clear their lines and crashed a shot beyond the diving Keller.

The same player almost set up Iran's third but was foiled by Regis and Keller.

The Americans nevertheless kept pressing and their persistence paid dividends as McBride bundled the ball over the Iran goalline with a diving header. That goal proved only to be a consolation.



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