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Fans furious after Iran collapse
by Paul Kennedy, March 30th, 2009 7AM



[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING-ASIA] Fans in the crowd of 100,000 at Tehran's Azadi Football Stadium demanded Coach Ali Daei's resignation after Iran blew a 1-0 lead and fell to visiting Saudi Arabia, 2-1, in World Cup 2010 qualifying in the Asian zone.

Daei apologized for the loss after Naif Hazizi and Osama al-Harbi scored in the last quarter of an hour and revived the Saudis' bid to qualify for the World Cup finals for a fifth straight time.

North Korea moved ahead of idle South Korea at the top of the Group A standings with a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates. Iran fell to fourth place.

In Group A, Japan and Australia look set to return to the World Cup finals. Shunsuke Nakamura's  goal on a free kick gave Japan a 1-0 win over Bahrain.

With the win, Japan moved ahead of idle Australia. Japan and Australia lead Bahrain, Qatar and Uzbekistan by seven and six points, respectively.

Group A
Uzbekistan 4 (Tadjiev 34, 45+3, 53, Soliev 61) Qatar 0
Japan 1 (Nakamura 47) Bahrain 0
Japan 3 2 0 8 3 11
Australia 3 1 0 6 0 10
Bahrain 1 1 3 4 6 4
Qatar 1 1 3 4 12 4
Uzbekistan 1 1 3 5 6 4

Group B
Iran 1 (Shojaei 56) Saudi Arabia 2 (Hazazi 78, Harbi 87)
North Korea 2 (Pak Choi-Jin 51, Mun In-Guk 90) United Arab Emirates 0
North Korea 3 1 1 7 4 10
South Korea 2 2 0 8 3 8
Saudi Arabia 2 1 2 5 6 7
Iran 1 3 1 6 6 6
UAE 0 1 4 4 11 1


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