Al-Ahli forward Flavio scored Angola’s first ever World Cup Finals goal when he headed in unmarked from a Figueiredo cross for the Africans to take the lead in the 60th minute.

Iranian defender Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh equalised fifteen minutes later as he headed home from a Mehdi Mahdavikia corner, all but ending Angola’s second round qualification chances.

They may not have known it, but Angola were just two goals away from the second round as Mexico were down 2-1 against Portugal in Gelsenkirchen in the other Group D match.

Needing to win the match and to overhaul Mexico on goal difference in the process, Angola got the break they needed when Flavio put away an easy header after a break down the right hand side.

The Africans sensed a possible second round berth, and almost went a step closer when Varzim midfielder Mendonca sent a shot agonisingly close not long after the opener.

Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh shows
some emotion after his equaliser

However Iran fought hard and ended up securing a draw and one point from their 2006 World Cup Finals campaign when one of the biggest names in football, Bakhtiarizadeh, rose above his defender to level the scores.

In a first half riddled with injuries, both coaches were forced to make early substitutions with Iran’s Branko Ivankovic bringing on midfielder Masoud Shojaei for Mohammed Nosrati, while Angola’s coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves substituted Love on for fellow striker Mateus.

Iran’s Ferydoon Zandi kicked off the first half action with a 14th minute shot on target after good work from Hannover’s Vahid Hashemian, however Angolan keeper Joao Ricardo saved well.

In the 27th minute Zandi sent a header towards goal from a Rahman Rezaei corner, with the Angolan defence clearing off the line.

Veteran striker Ali Daei had a shot from a free-kick for the Asian team, while Love had a shot from the top of box for the Africans, with both efforts not troubling the scorer.

Before the tournament began Angola and Iran were not expected to advance from Group D, and with Portugal progressing undefeated with Mexico behind them, early forecasts have rung true.