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Ghoddos' Iran complete comeback victory

Iran top Asian Qualifiers group at halfway point

12 November 2021

Iran made a stunning comeback to beat Lebanon in World Cup Qualifying, while Czech Republic suffered defeat to England Under-21s.

Saman Ghoddos played an hour in Iran's Asian Qualifier with Lebanon, which saw them 1-0 down heading into added time at the end of 90 minutes. In the first minute of stoppage time, Zenit Saint Petersburg's Sardar Azmoun levelled the game.

Far from satisfied, Iran pushed on and four minutes later they netted a winner. Shabab Al Ahli's Ahmad Nourollahi was in the right place at the right time, slamming home a low shot from the edge of the box after several blocked efforts.

The win sees them go above South Korea in the standings and means winning three of their remaining five qualifiers would secure a place at the World Cup in 2022. They face Syria on Tuesday 16 November, the side currently bottom of their qualifying group.

Jan Zamburek, 20, played the whole match as Czech Republic U21s lost 3-1 to their England equivalents at Turf Moor in Burnley. The defeat was their first in five of their 2023 European Under-21 Championship Qualifying games, having won their previous four.

Everton's Anthony Gordon scored twice early on as Arsenal's Folarin Balogun added the third before half-time. The Czech side scored their goal before the interval too, Sparta Prague's Adam Karabec scoring from the penalty spot after 40 minutes. Leicester City's Luke Thomas had tripped the forward in the box before the 18-year-old got up to convert the kick.

Czech Republic's next qualifier is on Tuesday 16 November, they face Slovenia. The qualification stages take a break in the winter, resuming in March next year.

Elsewhere, Patrik Gunnarsson was an unused sub in Iceland's 0-0 draw with Romania in FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group J.

Germany have already won the group stage and secured a place at Qatar 2022, leaving only one play-off spot, which Iceland can no longer reach. They have one more game, on Sunday 14 November against North Macedonia before their campaign comes to an end.


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