Karim Ansarifard scored a late winner to give Iran a 1-0 victory over Lithuania in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Friday.
Carlos Queiroz’s side, who will face Morocco, Spain and Portugal in Group B at the World Cup, went into the game on the back of a 2-1 friendly defeat against Turkey in Istanbul and struggled to create chances against Edgaras Jankauskas’ lively Lithuania side.
After going in goalless at half-time, Iran spent much of the second half pinned back by waves of Lithuanian attacks, with Justas Lasickas firing over the crossbar before substitute Povilas Leimonas failed to hit the target after a neat passing move culminated in a chance on the hour mark.
Iran came to life in the last 10 minutes of the game, piling forwards and creating a number of chances before Olympiacos striker Ansarifard tried his luck from the edge of the penalty area and found the net in the 88th minute.
While the result – Iran’s fourth victory in their last six international friendlies – will have pleased Queiroz, the manner of his side’s performance will have given him food for thought ahead of their group opener against Morocco on June 15.
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