HK put up inspired fight in losing at home to Iran

Sports | AGENCIES 11 Sep 2019

Hong Kong put up a gallant stand in losing 2-0 to Asian powerhouse Iran during their World Cup qualifier last night.

Goals from Sardar Azmoun and Karim Anzarifard secured victory for the visitors at Hong Kong Stadium in a match marred by pro-democracy protests.

It was Hong Kong's first loss of the Group C second round qualifying campaign after a 1-1 draw with Cambodia in Phnom Penh last week.

But coach Mixu Paatelainen's men showed more fight and discipline against a side ranked No 23 in the world - the highest among Asian countries. Hong Kong are No 139 in the rankings.

Iran had earlier sought to move the match, citing the unrest, but the request was rejected by world football's governing body Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation.

?An Iranian female football fan has died after setting herself on fire outside a court upon learning she may have to serve a six-month sentence for trying to enter a stadium. Sahar Khodayari, 30, was known as the "Blue Girl'' on social media for the colors of her favorite team, Esteghlal.

?French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet has told referees to no longer stop matches for homophobic abuse from fans.

?Germany steered their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign back on course with a nervy 2-0 win over Northern Ireland.

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