ABU DHABI - Mohammad Reza Khalatbari scored a last-minute winner then got sent off for celebrating as Iran stunned Russia 1-0 in a scrappy friendly played in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
With former Portugal and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz watching from a VIP box, Khalatbari sprung the offside trap before evading two Russian defenders and beating goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev with a rising shot from close range.
His joy was tempered, however, when he received a second booking and a red card for removing his shirt in celebration as Iran enjoyed their first ever win over Russia after three defeats, the last of which came in 1985.
Local media reports on Wednesday said Queiroz was set to become Iran's next coach, replacing Afshin Ghotbi who departed to join Japanese side Shimizu S-Pulse following Iran's elimination at last month's Asian Cup.
Russia looked toothless for most of the match played inside a near-empty Sheikh Zayed stadium and defeat will add pressure on coach Dick Advocaat after many Russian football experts had questioned the wisdom of playing Iran in the Gulf region.
Advocaat defended his decision, saying his players lacked match fitness but that it was still a good test for his team before they resume their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
"Most of our players are only getting ready for their season and they train twice a day, therefore some of them looked really tired in the second half," the Dutchman told a news conference.
"I tried to do as many substitutions as I could at half-time but it didn't help much. Unfortunately, people in Russia will remember this match as one big disappointment."
Russia, top of European Group B with nine points from four matches, face Armenia in Yerevan on March 26.comments