Iran put Thais out of Asian Cup (4 March 2010)

Teheran - Iran scored in the 89th minute on Wednesday night to defeat Thailand 1-0 and officially deny Bryan Robson's team a place at next year's Asian Cup finals.

Javad Nekounam scored a superb 89th-minute header to put the Thais out of the tournament for the first time in 22 years.

Robson, the former England and Manchester United captain, has had a miserable start to a four-year contract, and it is far from certain he will be around when Thailand start preparing for World Cup 2014 qualifiers.

With Group E winners Iran already through to the Asian Cup finals in Qatar, Jordan took second spot with a 2-1 win over bottom team Singapore.

Thailand, who finished third, struggled to make headway against a full-strength Iranian side lifted by a sparse but vociferous crowd at Tehran's Azadi Stadium.

Former Asian player of the year Ali Karimi was instrumental in most of Iran's attacks and came close to scoring several times, teaming up with Ehsan Hajisafi and Nekounam to heap the pressure on the visitors.

News of a Singaporean equaliser in the other group match led to a brief rally by the Thais but that was short-lived when Jordan restored their lead and Iran regained control with a torrent of attacks that led to Nekounam's decisive header. (Agencies)

picture: siamsport