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Iran is third in the standings on six points, five adrift of leader Iraq. Bahrain sits second on nine points.

Hong Kong is on five points while Cambodia only has one point to its name after five matches

Iran’s bid for qualification to a sixth FIFA World Cup Finals began brightly when it overcame Hong Kong 2-0 in its group opener, before displaying its prowess to seal an emphatic 14-0 win over Cambodia. Team Melli, however, then lost vital points after suffering back-to-back defeats to Bahrain (1-0) and Iraq (2-1), wrote.

The defeats mean head coach Dragan Skocić’s side has no room for error in its remaining matches if it is to realize its dream of reaching the FIFA World Cup Finals once more.

The Central Asians will have to hit the ground running against Hong Kong and reproduce the same performance when it defeated the East Asian side in its first meeting, with Sardar Azmoun and Karim Ansarifard scoring to secure a 2-0 win.

While Hong Kong still has a mathematical chance of a top place finish, it will need other results to go its way but with a place in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals still within reach, head coach Mixu Paatelainen will galvanize his players to take the challenge to Iran at the Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium.