BEIRUT: A first-half Roda Antar goal gave Lebanon a 1-0 win over Iran in a World Cup qualifier in Beirut Tuesday, to keep The Cedars' faint hopes of scrapping through to Brazil in 2014.
Antar rose above the Iranian defense to head home a free kick from Mohammad Haidar in the 28th minute, giving Lebanon its first goal ever against Iran. It proved to be the winner as Lebanon defended well for the rest of the game to deny the Iranians and claim all three points in the Asian Group A.
Lebanon goalkeeper Abbas Hassan, in inspired form throughout the 90 minutes, produced a string of fine acrobatic saves in the closing stages as Iran threw everything forward. The headband-wearing goalkeeper, who was shown a yellow card for time-wasting, even produced a 95th-minute excellent stop from Mohammad Ghazi's strong header.
The Iranians dominated possession in the second half and Mohammad Nori almost drew his team level when his header was just cleared off the Lebanon goal line in the 62nd minute.
Lebanon, competing in the fourth round of Asian World Cup qualifying for the first time, now have four points from four matches in the five-team pool, level with Iran and Qatar who have played one game fewer.
The result heaped more pressure on Iran coach Carlos Queiroz, the former Real Madrid and Portugal boss who has been criticised for his tactics as the team have struggled for goals.
Earlier, South Korea held on to their lead at the top of the pool by drawing 2-2 away to Uzbekistan. The Koreans lead the way on seven points with Iran second on goal difference in the group's other qualifying berth for Brazil 2014.