Iran beats Russia 1-0 in international friendly
Mohammad Reza Khalatbari scored a late winner and was then sent off as Iran shocked Russia 1-0 in an international friendly Wednesday.
Russia dominated the game in the neutral venue and placed Iran under plenty of pressure, but rarely threatened goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati.
Khalatbari scored with one minute left in a rare Iran counterattack, dribbling past two defenders to beat Igor Akinfeev from six meters (yards). After scoring the goal, Khalatbari was given a second yellow card for removing his jersey, leaving his side to defend its lead with 10 men.
Igor Denisov and Alexander Kerzhakov drew saves from Rahmati early in the game but with the Russian league on an almost four-month winter break, and most players on practice camps, the team lacked fluency.
Russia coach Dick Advocaat decided to make four substitutions at the interval, with Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov of Everton among those sent on.
Bilyaletdinov's powerful drive in the 63rd was blocked by Rahmati, while at the other end Arash Afshin threatened twice but Akinfeev block both of his low shots.
The defeat was Russia second in a row in friendlies, having lost 2-0 to Belgium in November.
The match was Russia's last warm-up ahead of its Euro 2012 away qualifier against Armenia on March 26. Russia leads the Group B standings with nine points from four games. Armenia, Ireland and Slovakia are tied for second two points behind.
Iran: Mehdi Rahmati, Khosro Heidari, Seyed Jalal Hosseini, Hadi Aghili, Ehsan Hajsafi, Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, Andranik Teymourian, Ghasem Hadadifar, Arash Afshin (Gholamreza Rezae, 66), Mohammad Noori, Mohammad Gholami (Hadi Noroozi, 51).
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Vasili Berezutskiy, Aleksei Berezutskiy (Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, 46), Sergei Ignashevich, Roman Shishkin (Roman Pavlyuchenko, 46), Igor Denisov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Vladimir Bystrov (Pavel Mamaev, 46), Dmitry Torbinski (Aleksandr Anyukov, 46), Alexander Kerzhakov (Igor Semshov, 70), Andrei Arshavin.