Both sides finished with ten men as Iran came through as eventual winners in a enthralling tie...Iran brushed aside UAE 3-0 thanks to strikes from Arash Afshin, Mohammad Nouri and an own goal from Walid Abbas. The Group D winners will now lock horns with South Korea in what should be an enthralling quarter-final encounter while UAE will exit the tournament having failed to score a single goal.
The game was evenly matched in the early going with chances for both sides but it wasn't until the second half when the game really came to life.
Substitute Reza Rezaei was released down the right and was able to send in a brilliant cross on to Mohammad Gholami's head and the striker saw his initial effort cannon back off the woodwork. It fell to the striker again but the same result ensued, this time though the ball fell to Arash Afshin, who from three yards out gleefully scored his first international goal.
UAE began to play some desperate football, but they had no calmness about their play. It was Iran who looked more likely to find the next goal.
The game seemed to change complexion when a ball was sent across which Afshin looked to attack only to beaten to it by Majed Nasser. As Afshin went in he made contact with the 'keeper leading to Nasser acting angrily toward the goalscorer. Despite the challenge having minimal contact it earned the striker his second yellow card, and Iran were reduced to ten men.
UAE failed to make their numerical advantage count and soon the numbers were level. Khalid Sebil came stemming in for a challenge, and the full-back who had booked early in the first half knew his fate before the referee had reached for his top pocket and Sebil trudged off the pitch.
Iran doubled their advantage when Mohammad Nouri found himself with some time just inside the penalty area. He he shifted the ball to Khosro Heidari, who returned the pass and the No. 17 placed his finish beyond Nasser.
Iran weren't done there though and with seconds left Rezaei rounded the 'keeper but will have been disappointed to not have grabbed a goal. Instead the back-tracking Walid Abbas got the final touch to score an own goal which saw Iran run out 3-0 winners.
Iran progress to the knockout stages, and a tie against South Korea on January 22nd. The Persian Stars will be full of confidence having been the only side to secure maximum points from their group games.
UAE will look to re-group as a nation as they finish third in Group D behind Iraq, who secured second place after beating North Korea 1-0.