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Iran blanks Thailand

CHONGQING (CHINA), JULY 20. Iran scored three times in the final 20 minutes, capped off by Ali Daei's 95th career goal on an 87th-minute penalty, and beat Thailand 3-0 to begin its bid for a fourth Asian Cup title.

Second-half substitute Reza Enayati gave Iran the lead in the 70th minute off a cross from Ali Karimi and Javad Nekournam also scored for the Gulf nation, which moved atop Group D ahead of defending champion Japan, which beat Oman 1-0 earlier in the day.

Iran's attack began to gel midway through the second half, and finally capitalized when Karimi sent in a ball off the touchline that Enayati directed past Thai goalkeeper Kosin Hathairatanakul. Nekounam doubled the lead in the in the 79th minute and Daei added his contribution by converting a penalty after Nataporn Panrit fouled Karimi in the penalty box.

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