Bangalore: India on Tuesday slumped to their third successive loss in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as they suffered a 0-3 thrashing at the hands of mighty Iran in a group match here.
Lacking in international exposure and vastly inferior in technique as compared to their more fancied rivals, the Indians put up a gritty fight in the first half but broke down later by conceding two quick goals in the early part of the second session in the Group D match at Kanteerava Stadium.
The good work from the central defenders Arnab Mondal and Sandesh Jhingan ensured that India trailed just 0-1 at half time but the Asian heavyweights, the highest ranked team in the continent, pumped in two goals in the space of four minutes to kill the game at that stage itself.
Sardar Azmoun (29th), Andranik (47th) and Mehdi Taromi (51st) were the goal scorers as Iran broke the Indian defence gradually as the game progressed. The visiting side, coached by Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, could have scored more had they utilised the chances that came their way.
On the other hand, the Indians did not have even a clear look at the Iran goal as the visitors compeltely dominated the match. The Indians could string together very few threatening moves and they had to deseperately defend their citadel for most part of the match.
To be fair to the Indians, who are ranked 155th in the FIFA charts as against the visting side's 40th, maintained the shape in defence to deny the Iranians' incessant attack for a large part of the match.
With the loss today, India are yet to open their account in the qualifying round. They have lost to Oman and Guam in their earlier matches. Iran, on the other hand, jumped to the top of the group with seven points from three matches.
India next play Turkmenistan in an away match on October 8.