DOHA, Jan. 15 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran qualified for the knockout stage of the 2011 Asian Cup with a victory over North Korea on Saturday. Iran, which defeated Iraq in the opening match of Group D, edged past North Korea 1-0 at the Qatar Sports Club Stadium.
Peiman Nouri crossed to the edge of the six-yard box and unmarked Karim Ansarifard found the back of the net in the 61st minute. Ansarifard had scored a goal in the first half but the Bahraini referee ruled it out, saying it was a handball, but the replays showed there was no handball violation and the goal should have counted.
Iran's coach Afshin Ghotbi
The North Koreans put Iran under pressure in the last minutes and Hong Yong Jo
hit the bar in the added time.
Iranian defender Hadi Aghili was named the best player of the match.
"We made some changes in our team against North Korea, but I am satisfied with
the way my players played. I am so glad to advance to the next stage," Iran
coach Afshin Ghotbi said.
Iran is scheduled to play the United Arab Emirates on January 19 in its last group stage match.
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