Reuters: Iran’s hopes of playing in the 2012 London Olympic soccer tournament vanished on Thursday when they were beaten 2-0 by neighbours Iraq in the second leg of a second-round qualifier.
TEHRAN, June 23 (Reuters) – Iran’s hopes of playing in the 2012 London Olympic soccer tournament vanished on Thursday when they were beaten 2-0 by neighbours Iraq in the second leg of a second-round qualifier.
Two goals by Amjad Radhi, one either side of halftime, put 2004 Athens Games semifinalists Iraq through to the third round of qualifiers.
Arash Afshin and Hamidreza Aliasgari had chances to equalise for Iran but both players put the ball wide.
Fighting broke out between two rival players after the game in Tehran’s Azadi stadium and Iranian fans shouted slogans against the head of the country’s football federation Ali Kafashian, calling for his resignation, according to official news agency Irna.
Iran, who last qualified for the Olympics in 1980, beat Iraq 1-0 in the first leg on Sunday in Arbil.
“I think that there is a sense of regret in our inability to qualify for the Olympics for (so long),” Iran coach Alireza Mansourian said.
Iraq will go into the 12-team draw on July 7 for the third round of qualifying.
Earlier this month, Iran said it planned to complain to world soccer’s governing body FIFA after its women’s team were banned from an Olympic qualifying game due to their Islamic dress.
Officials banned the team just before the start of a match in Amman and awarded opponents Jordan a 3-0 win. FIFA later said it had warned Iran about dress-code rules. (Reporting by Sanam Shantyaei; Writing by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Clare Fallon)