A must-win encounter for Iran at their World Cup qualification campaign sees Dragan Skocic’s team square off against Bahrain in Manama on Monday.
Bahrain lead the preliminary Group C of the Asian qualifiers with 12 points, with Iran, having a game in hand, in third with nine points.
Iraq are second in the group, which also features Hong Kong and Cambodia, with 11 points and the same number of matches as Iran.
Eight group winners plus four best runners-up will advance to the final round of qualification.
Iranian skipper Ehsan Hajsafi could be back in the starting eleven after he was benched in the 3-1 victory over Hong Kong on Thursday.
The good news for Skocic, who will only be in charge of Iran in a second competitive match, is that his team will play a 19:30 fixture on Monday, having faced Hong Kong at 17:00 in the hot and humid weather of the Persian Gulf country.
The pitch of Monday’s venue, Bahrain National Stadium, will also be a much more proper one for a game of football, compared to Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium’s grass, which Skocic criticized before and after Thursday’s victory.
This is not the first time Iran endure such nervy and challenging circumstances in the World Cup qualifiers.
The Asian powerhouse claimed successive away victories over Jordan (2-0) and Qatar (3-2) in the same stage during the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, while three wins over Qatar, Lebanon, and South Korea sealed a place at the 2014 finals for the country.