Asian Cup preparation for Iran’s national team continued smoothly on Friday as they recorded a 3-1 victory against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates.
Ehsan Hajsafi recorded a brace and Mehdi Sharifi notched Team Melli’s third goal against the fifth-placed Premier Soccer League club.
Iran manager Carlos Queiroz used the opportunity to test two rather different formations. Rahman Ahmadi stood between the posts in the first half, and he was joined in the starting lineup by Reza Khanzadeh, Hashem Beikzadeh, Varia Ghafouri, Amirhossein Sadeghi, Vahid Amiri, Habib Gardani, Mohammad Nouri, Iman Mobali, Sajjad Shahbazzadeh, and Masoud Hassanzadeh.
All four goals came in a fast-paced second half, including two impressive strikes from substitute Hajsafi.
The match was Iran’s second against a PSL side, after winning 2-0 earlier last week against current league leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
The three-time Asian Cup winners will play two more friendlies before their January 11th tournament opener against Bahrain, hosting debutantes Palestine in Tehran on December 28th before facing Iraq in Wollongong, New South Wales on January 4th.