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AFC - Midfielder Hossein Kabei netted a brace of goals as Iran's Olympic side edged the Singapore national team 3-2 in an international friendly at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.

The Iranians raced into a two-goal lead at the break, but the home side staged a tremendous fightback to level the score before Kabei netted a late winner to settle the match.

Iran had the better chances in the opening half and took the lead on the half-hour mark when Moharram Navidkia found an unmarked Mehrzad Ardakani, who drilled a low shot across Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny into the back of the net.

Five minutes later, Ali Badavi broke down the left and crossed to Kabei, who scrambled the ball home from close range to make it 2-0.

Singapore coach Radojko Avaramovic made a number of changes at the break and it paid off almost immediately as Indra Sahdan headed home a corner five minutes into the second half.

The hosts then levelled the score at 2-2 in the 59th minute as Tan Kim Leng tapped the ball into the net after a goalmouth scramble.

The match hung in the balance in the closing stages with both teams creating chances but it was Iran that got the winner in the 78th minute as Kabei reacted quickest after the ball had come back off the Singapore upright to hammer the ball into the roof of the net.

Iran Olympic coach Mohammad Mayeli Kohan was using the match as a warm-up for his team's upcoming Asian Olympic Qualifying Group A matches against Korea Republic, China and Malaysia. He was generally pleased with the performance although he lamented the lapses that allowed Singapore back into the game.

"It was a good game for us considering it was our first match together since we beat Uzbekistan in the Olympic qualifiers [in June 2003]," said Kohan.

"We got a bit complacent with a 2-0 lead at half time, but some of my players are a bit inexperienced at international level and things like that happen," he added.

The Iran Olympic team's next assignment is a friendly against Japan in Tokyo on February 8, while Singapore next meet India in Kolkota on February 18 in a World Cup 2006 qualifying match.

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