Brighton's Jahanbakhsh helps Iran reach first Asian Cup semi-finals in 15 years
Brighton & Hove Albion winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh helped Iran qualify for the semi-finals of the Asian Cup for the first time since 2004, after a convincing 3-0 win over China this evening.
The Iranians opened the scoring on 18 minutes. Sardar Azmoun capitalised on a poor defensive mistake by China's Feng Xiaoting before squaring the ball to Mehdi Taremi to find the back of the net.
Azmoun then doubled the advantage on 31 minutes. A long-ball from the back caught out the Chinese defence, and Azmoun used his strength to outmuscle Liu Yiming before rounding the Chinese 'keeper to make it 2-0.
SEE ALSO Brighton & Hove Albion v West Brom: The key points from Chris Hughton's pre-match press conference | Jahanbakhsh scores as Iran reach Asian Cup quarter-finals | Ryan's penalty heroics sees Australia advance to Asian Cup quarter-finalsIran sealed the game on 90 minutes after yet another defensive mistake. A poor first touch from a Chinese defender rolled the ball into the path of Taremi, whose perfectly measured pass played in Karim Ansarifard who finished well in a one-on-one situation.
Three-time winners Iran are looking to win their first Asian Cup since 1976. They will play four-time champions Japan in the semi-finals on Monday January 28.
Jahanbakhsh started on the right wing for the Iranians, and posed the Chinese defence problems before he was replaced by Saman Ghoddoos on 68 minutes.
Albion's club record signing has so far played 11 times this season, but has not played for the Seagulls since their 3-1 away loss to Everton at the beginning of November when he limped off with a hamstring injury late on.
The 25-year-old will now miss Brighton's games against West Brom and Fulham and may miss Albion's home encounter against Watford if Iran reach the final on Friday February 1.
Jahanbakhsh's Seagulls teammate Mathew Ryan will be in action for Australia tomorrow (January 25) afternoon as they take on hosts the United Arab Emirates in the final quarter-final tie of the competition.