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Iran Secures Asian Cup Last 16 Berth with 1-0 Victory Over Hong Kong

Doha, January 20, 2024, The Europe Today: Iran clinched a spot in the Asian Cup last 16 with a hard-fought 1-0 triumph against Hong Kong in a Group C encounter at the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday. The decisive goal came in the 24th minute when Mehdi Ghayedi found the back of the net, guided by a precise assist from Milad Mohammadi.

The victory propelled Iran to the top of Group C with six points, ensuring a guaranteed top-two finish. They hold a two-point lead over the United Arab Emirates, while Palestine is third with one point.

Ghayedi’s well-executed shot from a tight angle eluded the goalkeeper, breaking the deadlock and setting Iran on course for another significant win. Despite dominating possession, Iran faced resilient defense from Hong Kong, resulting in missed opportunities to extend their lead.

The upcoming clash against the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday will determine the group’s leader, influencing the knockout stage draw. Iranian coach Amir Ghalenoei expressed disappointment over missed chances but remains focused on securing a favorable position in the tournament’s next phase.

Hong Kong, making a return to the Asian Cup after 56 years, sits at the bottom of the group with no points, following a previous defeat to the UAE. Iran’s performance against the UAE will play a crucial role in shaping their path through the tournament.