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Canberra, Jan 8 (IANS) Iran suffered a blow on the eve of the Asian Cup when defender Hashem Beikzadeh was ruled out with a broken hand.
Coach Carlos Queiroz said the loss of the 30-year-old, who sustained the injury in training Wednesday, had caused “big damage” to Iran’s plans, reports Xinhua.
The full-back, who can also play in central defence, will be replaced by Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh. The 23-year-old will arrive Friday ahead of Iran’s Group C opener against Bahrain Sunday.
Iran’s back line had already suffered the loss of Pejman Montazeri, who was ruled out last month after injuring his foot.
“This is a big damage for us as Pejman is also injured. We have two main players in our defensive line who are out,” Queiroz said.
Iran are considered one of the leading contenders in Australia, where they are trying to end the long wait for a title after winning the Asian Cup three times in a row between 1968 and 1976.