Iran vs Uzbekistan

AFC - Islamic Republic of Iran topped Group E after ending their Preliminary Joint Qualification – Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ campaign with a goalless draw against Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
The match at Azadi Stadium saw a closely fought contest as they repeated their stalemate from the reverse fixture in Tashkent which finished 2-2, with Iran finishing as group winners thanks to a superior goal difference.

Iran went close to breaking the deadlock in the 21st minute when Saman Ghoddos found himself with time and space to unleash an effort from distance but Utkir Yusupov did well to gather the low shot.

Oston Uronov, who recently helped Persepolis FC to the Iran Pro League title, then went on a solo run in the 33rd minute, beating two defenders before sending his shot past an outstretched Ali Beiranvand only to miss the target by inches.

With Uzbekistan’s defence standing strong, Iran were limited to shooting from outside the box with Omid Norafkan’s left footed shot whizzing past the post causing concern for the away side as the match went into the break still with all to play for.

The pattern remained the same in the opening minutes of the second half with Iran on the attack but without being able to penetrate the resolute Uzbekistan defence as yet another Norafkan shot flashed wide of the post.

Sensing a need for change, head coach Srecko Katanec took off star forward Eldor Shomurodov with emerging midfielder Abbosbek Fayzullaev replacing him as Uzbekistan sought to gain more control in midfield.

Mehdi Taremi struck the post in the 68th minute while Khusniddin Alikulov forced a reflex save from Beiranvand eight minutes later but the two sides could not be separated after 90 minutes of action in Tehran.