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"Iranian fans threw stones and empty plastic bottles at the Iraqi players"
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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Trouble flares after Iran beat Iraq
Iran v Iraq
Mehdi Mahdavikia (white) was on target for Iran
Iran 2-1 Iraq

Iran improved their prospects of reaching the 2002 World Cup finals with a defeat over bitter rivals Iraq - but the game was marred by crowd trouble.

Iranian police fired teargas and arrested dozens of football fans during clashes in Tehran after the match, the AFP news agency reported.

Police moved in after supporters attacked a bank and cars in the Hafthoz neighbourhood of the city's eastern Narmak area.

Riot police had earlier clubbed dozens of soccer supporters of all ages and made a number of other arrests after more than 20,000 people gathered in one of Tehran's main squares - Nur Square - to celebrate the win.

An unidentified Iraqi player throws something at Iranian fans
An unidentified Iraqi player throws something at Iranian fans
The victory put Iran at the top of Asian Group A, a point ahead of Saudi Arabia, who have played the same number of games.

Mehdi Mahdavikia put the hosts 1-0 up in the 27th minute, before Qahtan Chathir equalised early in the second half.

Ali Karimi scored the winner in the 71st minute before a crowd of 100,000 in Tehran.

The match was being closely followed by the Republic of Ireland, who will face an Asian team in their play-off.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are battling for the final guaranteed qualifying slot from their group after China secured first place last weekend.

Forcibly rounded up

Whoever finishes second will play-off with the second-placed side from Asia Group B, which could be Uzbekistan, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates.

The qualifier at the Azadi Stadium took place amid mounting tension following the bombing raids on Afghanistan and the on-going disagreements between Iran and Iraq.

In the distrubances after the match, children and elderly people were forcibly rounded up apparently without reason as well as some troublemakers, AFP said.

Most fans in the streets were heard chanting "Iran, Iran" but no political slogans.

See also:

06 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
The play-off picture
12 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
Two legs pleases McCarthy
11 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
Israel match rearranged
Other top World Cup 2002 stories:

Links to more World Cup 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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