Muscat: First-half goals from Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Ashkan Dejagah powered Iran to a convincing 2-0 victory over Oman in their Asian Cup Round of 16 clash in Abu Dhabi.
It was a match that could have started very differently for Oman had skipper Ahmed Mubarak al Mahajiri converted the penalty that came the ‘Red Warriors’ way in the second minute.
Oman seemed a bit overwhelmed playing in their first ever knock-out match in the Asian Cup and the pressure told on even the captain.
Al Mahajiri’s penalty was parried by Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand who moved to his right to block the shot.
Thereafter, Iran went on the attack with Sardar Azmoun making some runs inside the Oman defensive area but the defence stood tight.
Jameel al Yahmadi won a free-kick in the 15th minute as Oman looked to mount an attack of their own.
Iran were up against history as well with the record of not having won an Asian Cup knockout game since 2004, losing at the quarterfinal stage in each of the last three tournaments.
The last time Oman and Iran played in the Asian Cup was in the group stages of the 2004 edition, where Oman were leading 2-0 before Iran fought back with an equaliser in the 94th minute.
The goals came after the half-hour mark.
In the 32nd minute, Alireza Jahanbaksh helped Iran draw first blood capitalising on a defensive lapse from Oman to strike a right-footed shot into the centre of the goal.
It was then Ashkan Dejagah’s turn to find the net as he scored from a penalty in the 41st minute as Iran took a 2-0 lead.
Oman were under enormous pressure to bounce back as they went to half-time trailing 2-0 in Abu Dhabi.
In the second half, Oman did try their best to launch a fightback but their efforts came a cropper against a much superior Iran side.
Oman made two late substitutions of Ahmed Mubarak and Mohsen al Ghassani but it made no difference to their eventual fortunes as Iran emerged deserving victors.