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banner Monday, 22 October, 2001, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Irish will face Iran or UAE
Bahrain's Hussein Ali Ahmed in action against Iran
Hussein Ali Ahmed scored for Bahrain against Iran
The Republic of Ireland will face either Iran or the United Arab Emirates in a play-off for a place in next summer's World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

The Iranians had an appeal to FIFA that Bahrain had fielded ineligible players against them on Sunday thrown out on Monday evening.

Bahrain shocked the fancied Iranians 3-1 on Sunday.

Fifa's decision confirms Saudi Arabia have qualified automatically following their 4-1 win over Thailand on Sunday.

Iran will now play off against the UAE, with the winner to tackle Mick McCarthy's side on November 10 and 15.

Tens of thousands of Saudis poured onto the streets to celebrate Sunday's victory over Thailand.

Abdullah al-Sheehan opened the scoring for the Saudis on Sunday after latching on to a through ball from Hussein Abdul Ghani in the 41st minute.

Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy
Mick McCarthy: Facing Asian trip

Abdullah al-Jamaan made it 2-0 just after half-time, heading home from an Ahmed al-Dokhi cross.

Boliban pulled one back for Thailand in the 54th minute.

Sami al-Jaber extended the Saudi lead from the penalty spot after al-Sheehan was brought down.

Midfielder Ibrahim Mater rounded off the scoring in the 73rd minute.

After the match, tens of thousands of Saudis poured onto the streets to celebrate the victory.

In the other crucial match in the group, Abdullah Abdul Rahman put Bahrain ahead in the seventh minute.

Hussein Ali Ahmed made it 2-0 just before half-time.


Iran finally pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute, two minutes after Bahrain's Abdul Rahman had been sent off for time-wasting.

Striker Ali Daei tapped in the rebound after Bahraini goalkeeper Abdul Rahman Abdul Karim could only palm away the ball.

In a bad-tempered final few minutes, Iran had Sirous Dinmohammadi and Ali Reza Nikbaht sent off.

Coach Miroslav Blazevic was then ordered from the dug-out by the referee.

Mohammed Hussein Mohammed scored Bahrain's final goal in injury time.

BBC Sport's Richard Fleming
"Three second half goals from the Saudis ensured a comfortable 4-1 win"
See also:

20 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
UAE reach World Cup play-offs
Other top World Cup 2002 stories:

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


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