Azmoun double gives Iran 2-0 Asian Cup win over Vietnam

Sardar Azmoun struck twice as Iran dispatched Vietnam 2-0 on Saturday to reach the last 16 of the Asian Cup and set a new group-stage win record.

Iran, looking to end a 43-year title drought since last winning Asian football’s most coveted prize, could have scored four or five but for some poor finishing in Abu Dhabi.

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Saman Ghoddos and Mehdi Taremi went close for Carlos Queiroz’s side before Azmoun rose to head home a Ghoddos cross after 38 minutes.

The Rubin Kazan forward lashed in his third goal of the tournament from the edge of the box 20 minutes from time to give Iran a ninth successive first-round victory dating back to 2007.

Co-favourites with South Korea to lift the Asian Cup, Iran crushed war-torn Yemen 5-0 in their opening Group D game.

They were indebted to goalkeeper Alireza Safar Beiranvand for a brave save from Nguyen Cong Phuong early in the second half but by and large were barely ruffled by the southeast Asian champions.