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banner Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 14:35 GMT
Iran through to face Republic
Emirati Mohamed Omar fights for the ball
Iran last played the Republic of Ireland in 1972
United Arab Emirates 0-3 Iran (Agg 0-4)

Iran will meet the Republic of Ireland for a place in next year's World Cup finals after beating the United Arab Emirates 3-0 in the second leg of their Asian Zone.

Iran had edged the first leg 1-0.

The return leg proved a more comfortable affair for Iran even though they had to play with 10 men for most of the game after Pejman Jamshidi was sent off after eight minutes

I think the boys did a great job
Iranian coach Miroslav Blazevic

The Republic of Ireland will meet Iran in Dublin on 10 November, with the return game likely to be in Tehran five days later.

The two teams last met in an invitational tournament in 1972 in Recife, Brazil when the Republic of Ireland won 2-1.

Hertha Berlin striker Ali Daei returned from suspension to spearhead Iran to victory with a goal after only seven minutes when he hit a superb curling free kick beyond Mutaz Abdulla.

Former Charlton player Karim Bagheri on 75 minutes and Mehrdad Minavand, four minutes later, scored Iran's other two goals.

UAE frustration

The UAE also finished the game with 10 men after Jaleel Abdul Raham red carded eight minutes into the second half.

UAE were undone by their inability to take several good chances.

Abdul Rahman Juma twice shot wide while Mohammed Omar failed to beat Iranian goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirazpour from close range.

Those were misses that left UAE's Dutch coach Tini Ruijs was left throwing his hands in frustration and kicking the ground.

The game swung Iran's way in the 53rd minute when Abdul Rahman was sent off for a second booking -- for his second foul on Daei.

Iran then launched a series of concerted attacks and struck twice in a five-minute blitz.

Bagheri, who got the only goal in the first leg, scored after a goalmouth scramble in the 75th minute.

Soon after Minavand completed the scoring, with a powerful right-foot shot.

"It was a pretty satisfying result," said Iran's Croatian coach Miroslav Blazevic.

Blazevic led the Croatian national team to the World Cup in France in 1998.

Iranian Behroz Rahbarifar fights for the ball against Emirati forward Zuhair Bakhit
Iran's Behroz Rahbarifar shields the ball

"I think the boys did a great job.

"Great in the sense that they rallied brilliantly after Pejman Jamshidi was sent off early in the match.

"The idea was to protect the goal after he was sent off.

"It was not easy to beat the UAE. They played very well like they did in Tehran."

UAE's Dutch coach Tini Ruijs conceded that his side's inability to take their chances had been their undoing.

"We were distinctly unlucky not to convert the many scoring chances that we had."

"The red card to Jaleel Abdul Rahman early in the second half worked against us.

"We couldn't maintain the same pressure."

The Irish squad for the November play-off was also announced on Wednesday.

Republic of Ireland squad: Given (Newcastle), Kiely (Charlton), A Kelly (Blackburn), G Kelly (Leeds), Staunton (Aston Vila), Harte (Leeds), Dunne (Man City), Breen (Coventry), O'Brien (Newcastle), Cunningham (Wimbledon), Kinsella (Charlton), Roy Keane (Man Utd), Carsley (Coventry), McAteer (Sunderland), Holland (Ipswich), Kilbane (Sunderland), Finnan (Fulham), Kennedy (Wolves), Reid (Millwall), Delap (Southampton), Quinn (Sunderland), Robbie Keane (Leeds), Connolly (Wimbledon), Morrison (Crystal Palace).

Gulf Times journalist Alaric Gomes
"The coach was quite pleased"
Daily Mail journalist Colin Young
"I would expect Ireland to win"
Republic of Ireland's Matt Holland
"It's a great opportunity for us"
See also:

25 Oct 01 |  Middle East
Arrests in new Iran football clashes
23 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
McCarthy dismisses safety fears
22 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
Irish will face Iran or UAE
23 Oct 01 |  Middle East
Iran football clashes continue
Other top World Cup 2002 stories:

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


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