TEHRAN, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Goals from Mehdi Mahdavikia and
Javad Nekounam helped Iran to cling on for a 2-1 win over North
Korea in their Asian World Cup qualifying match on Wednesday.
Buoyed by a noisy home crowd at the Azadi stadium, Iran
attacked from the start and went ahead after just 10 minutes
With the North Korean defence in disarray, Iran pushed for a
second and found it on 64 minutes when Nekounam poked the ball
home from close range after keeper Ri Myong-guk flapped at a
deep cross leaving his back four exposed.
North Korea piled on the pressure with long-range efforts
from Cha Jong-hyok and the dangerous Jong Tae-se stinging the
palms of Iranian goalkeeper Seyed Rahmati.
Tae-se pulled one back on 71 minutes with a superb towering
header and Mun In-guk forced Rahmati into a spectacular save
minutes later with a potent strike from 20 metres.
Iran, who have qualified for the World Cup finals three
times, survived a late fightback to take second place in Group
Two behind South Korea, who routed United Arab Emirates 4-1.
South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea all have