ASIAN CUP 2019
Iran have too much for China as they march on to the semi-final
Iran march on to the semi-final of the Asian Cup for the first time since 2004 thanks to goals from Taremi, Azmoun and a late finisher from Ansarifard.
China 0-3 Iran: match report
China bowed out of the Asian Cup 2019 thanks to three defensive mistakes albeit against a well-organised and energetic Iran side.
Carlos Queiroz, who saw his side crash out at the same stage in 2015, was keen to ensure they learned from their mistakes that time around. And it was the Iranians who forced the errors that changed the game on Thursday afternoon in Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.
Mehdi Taremi struck first after the indefatigable sardar Azmoun chased down a long ball and forced the Chinese defence to panic and hesitate. It was as easy a goal as Taremi will get after his teammated plated it for him in front of goal.
Azmoun turned goalscorer after another moment of panic for China at the back. He raced through, rounded the keeper and slotted home to put the game even in its early stages out of reach of a poor China side.
Marcelo Lippi's time as a manager might be drawing to a close and he will be upset that he couldn't do anything to affect the game. He made two changes in the first half but China continue to lump it forward with no end product.
Substitute, Karim Ansarifard wrapped it up when he scored in stoppage time as Iran march on to the semi-final for the first time since 2004.
China vs Iran live online: Asian Cup 2019 updates
China vs Iran live online: preview
Iran lost to neighbours, Iraq, in 2015 when the got knocked out at the same stage of the same competition in a penalty shoot-out and Carlos Quieroz is keen that his side draw on the "lessons we have learned" in an effort to put them to use. They have a fresh chance to win the Asian Cup having won it three times in a row from 1968 to 1976 and not since. They have suffered heartbreak of all different sorts and play China, a side who have never won it, at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium with kick-off on Thursday at 17:00 CET.
China have made it to the final of the Asian Cup just once in their history. They lost that final 3-1 to Japan but they stormed through the group stages before losing to South Korea in the last group game. They subsequently beat Thailand 2-1 in the last 16 game with thanks to goals from Zhi Xiao and Lin Gao. They had to come back in that game after conceding in the first half and they'll be hoping they don't have to pull off such a nercy manoeuvre in the quarter final. Marcelo Lippi might be without Wu Lei for the game as he nurses a shoulder injury.
Iran are ranked 88th in the world and Lippi says of them that they are "physically very strong, organised and have very good quality." We got a good look at them in the World Cup when they beat Morocco and drew with Portugal while holding Spain to just one goal and made it very difficult for them. They are unbeaten in the Asian Cup with two victories and a win in the group stages over Yemen and Vietnam before drawing with Iraq. They would go on to beat Oman 2-0 in the last 16 and will be looking to progress beyond the quarter-final for the first time since 2004.
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