Iran set up a quarterfinal clash with Spain with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Mexico in the round of 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Goa on Tuesday.
Mohammad Sharifi gave Iran an early lead from the penalty spot in the 7th minute. The spot kick was awarded following a silly challenge by Adrián Vázquez on Mohammad Ghaderi inside the box. Allahyar Sayyad made it 2-0 in the 11th minute with a neat finish from outside the box.
Iran took their foot off the gas after the early goals, as Mexico stepped up their game to push for a goal. Roberto Carlos de la Rosa pulled one back for them in the 37th minute, collecting the ball inside the box after an initial save by the goalkeeper before drilling his effort into the bottom left corner.
Iran sat back for much of the remainder of the game, relying on counters while Mexico played quick, short passes and tested the Iran keeper Ali Gholam Zadeh, who made a string of smart saves.
Mexico keeper Cesar Lopez was also called into action in the second half, and he came off his line twice to block Younes Delfi and Sayyad's shots from close range.
Mexico came close to an equaliser late on, but Jairo Torres' shot from a difficult angle off a free-kick hit the left post.
Iran's Younes Delfi, who received a yellow in the 80th minute, the second in the tournament for a rough tackle, will miss the quarterfinal match against Spain in Kochi.