After a rampant display on Matchday Three of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, Group C leader Iran is braced for its toughest test yet when it plays away to Bahrain in Manama on Tuesday.
The Iranians, who overcame Cambodia 14-0 last time out to make it two wins from two, are currently two points clear of Iraq which is scheduled to tackle Cambodia.
Karim Ansarifard scored four times and the ever-impressive Sardar Azmoun bagged a hat-trick as Iran sealed a comfortable victory against its Southeast Asian opponent at the Azadi Stadium on Thursday, one which saw the Asian powerhouse add to the 2-0 win it recorded in Hong Kong on Matchday One.
Although delighted with his side’s display, Iran head coach Marc Wilmots has nevertheless been quick to point out that his men must maintain their focus ahead of what promises to be a thrilling encounter in the Bahrain capital.
“We have an important match with Bahrain on Tuesday and we need to keep our concentration. We want three points. We haven't done anything yet,” said the Belgian tactician.
Third-placed Bahrain, meanwhile, heads into the match aiming to register a first win over Iran since its 4-2 friendly success in 2009.
The Bahrainis are, though, unbeaten thus far and appear set to provide a stern test of Iran’s credentials, especially if midfielder Komail al-Aswad can continue the fine form which has seen him net two goals in as many games.