Saudi Arabia Come From Behind To Despatch Iran

A late goal in the closing stages has edged Saudi Arabia closer to qualification for World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
Iran 1-2 Saudi Arabia

Osama Al Harbi scored a late winner as Saudi Arabia came from behind to defeat Iran in a crucial World Cup qualifying encounter in Tehran this afternoon.

With the top two sides automatically booking their place at the finals, both nations wanted to avoid the third position which sees a potentially difficult encounter with the qualifiers from the Oceanic section.

And it was Saudi Arabia who took the points this afternoon, coming from behind to seal the win.

Osasuna midfielder Masoud Shojaei opened the scoring for Iran in the 59th minute, striking powerfully from the edge of the area, and at that stage they looked good value for their win.

But in the closing stages, Saudi Arabia turned the match on its head to stun the partisan home crowd. Naif Hazizi levelled the scores at 1-1 ten minutes from time, before defender Al Harbi glanced home with four minutes remaining to hand his nation a crucial 2-1 victory.

Saudi Arabia have moved into third place in Asian Qualifying Group A, within striking distance of the top two positions, and given Iran a lot to do if they are to make South Africa next year.

Paul Macdonald,