Iran too strong for China
Goals in each half from Andranik and Mohammad Gholami helped Iran beat China 2-0 in a friendly at Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium.
Andranik opened the scoring seven minutes before the break and Gholami doubled the advantage shortly before the hour mark as the visitors produced a convincing victory. China created the first chance of note after six minutes when Rong Hao found himself with just Mehdi Rahmati to beat after latching onto Feng Xiaoting's long cross, only to see the goalkeeper make a superb save to deny him.
The visitors then dominated the remainder of the half as China struggled to cope with their pacy attacking play. Jalal Hosseini's header flew just wide after the quarter-hour mark before keeper Yang Zhi kept out a 25-yard effort from Mohammad Reza Khalatbari 10 minutes later.
Yang Xu came close to breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute but he put Yang Hao's dangerous cross over the bar. China's inability to clear their lines two minutes later handed the visitors the opener. Yang parried out Khalatbari's close-range shot and Feng directed the ball into the path of Andranik, who stabbed home from 15 yards.
Gholami then evaded China's offside trap in the 57th minute and calmly rounded the on-rushing Yang before firing the ball into the empty net. Yu Hai steered home Feng Reng Renliang's cross midway through the second half but it was ruled out as the latter was offside.
"The defeat made us aware of our real strength and our position in Asia," said China coach Gao Hongbo. "We need to play more Asian rivals of different styles so as to assess whether China are still one of the top teams in the continent."
China edged out Iran 1-0 in a June friendly last year in Qinghuangdao. "The game proved Iran are physically stronger than China and we outplayed our rivals in attack," said Iran coach Afshin Ghotbi. "My tactics proved successful as China failed to create a real attacking threat."