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Iran defeats Costa Rica in World Cup warm-up

Photos: ISNA

Tehran, March 2, IRNA-Regulars Ali Karimi, Ali Daei, and Vahid Hashemian found the back of the net before halftime to give Iran a 3-2 win over depleted Costa Rica in a World Cup warm-up in Teharn on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi receiving a well-flighted cross from veteran fullback Yahya Golmohammadi on the right flank on 10 minutes sidestepped his marker to beat the visitor's keeper Alvaro Mesen with a low kick.

Mesen was forced to dive to palm away a ferocious drive from Kaiserslautern midfielder Fereydoun Zandi three minutes later.

Iran's Fereydoun Zandi

The home team, however, doubled the scoring in the 16th minute, when playmaker Karimi spotted Hanover 96 striker Hashemian on the left, who in turn left the unmarked skipper Daei alone with the empty net to find.

Hashemian, who was denied by Mesen in the first-minute man-to-man challenge, leaped to steer in a rebound on 34 minutes.

The Bundesliga-bound forward raced to send a Daei pass in the unguarded net, but the fourth was mistakenly ruled out by the UAE's Farid al-Marzouqi as offside.

Talking to Channel 3 of the state TV during the break, the refereeing expert Houshang Nassirzadeh said Hashemian's goal was sound.

Iran's Navidkia

Carlos Hernandez made a spectacular solo effort two minutes from the interval, steering the ball past Iran keeper Ebrahim Mirzapour with a powerful low shot.

The South American second-string side had a much better performance in the second half as manager Alexandre Guimaraes fielded three and his Croat counterpart Branko Ivankovic replaced four in the beginning and two in last minutes.

Costa Rica reduced the arrears on the hour as Dany Fonseca's header looped over substitute keeper Hassan Roudbarian.

The visiting side almost leveled the game 10 minutes from normal time, when a sizzling drive from Alvaro Saborio hit the crossbar.

Iran, however, secured the victory without two internationals, Hamburg right winger Mehdi Mahdavikia and Messina defender Rahman Rezaei, who were sidelined by injury and lack of coordination respectively.

The Asian powerhouse Iran is in Group D of the 2006 World Cup with Portugal, Mexico, and Angola and is scheduled to play its opening match against Mexico in Nuremberg on June 11.

Costa Rica arrays against host Germany in their opening clash in Munich on June 9.

... Payvand News - 3/2/06 ... --

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