1110 GMT February 21, 2018
Iran beat Panama 2-1 in a friendly fixture in Graz, Austria, on Thursday as part of the preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Asian side started on the front foot in Liebenauer Stadium and opened the scoring with 16 minutes into the game. Ashkan Dejagah converted from the spot after Olympiacos striker Karim Ansarifard was brought down in the eighteen-yard box by Panama’s Jan Vargas.
Saman Qoddos scored his first international goal in only his third appearance in Iranian outfit to double the Asians’ lead three minutes later. The 24-year-old midfielder played a one-two with Ansarifard before his right-footed strike in the area found the bottom-left corner.
The Central Americans pulled one back six minutes before the interval as Gabriel Torres scored from the spot after Rouzbeh Cheshmi’s challenge on Armando Cooper convinced the referee to blow in his whistle for a penalty.
Iran held on to the 2-1 lead through the end of the second half to clinch another victory on the way to the next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Having recorded victories over Montenegro and Togo, as well as a creditable 1-1 draw against Russia last month, Carlos Quiroz’s men remain unbeaten since March.
They are next in action on Monday when they travel to Netherlands to face Venezuela, who finished bottom in the South American qualifiers.
Next year’s showdown will mark Iran’s fifth appearance in the finals while Panama will be taking part in the competition for the very first time.