Soccer Football - World Cup - Asia Qualifiers - Second Round - Group C - Iran v Iraq - Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium, Muharraq, Bahrain - June 15, 2021 Iran's Mehdi Taremi in action with Iraq's Amjed Attwan REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Nov 7 (Reuters) – Porto striker Mehdi Taremi has been left out of Iran‘s squad for their World Cup preliminaries against Lebanon and Syria in coming days by coach Dragan Skocic.

No reason has been given why Taremi, who has scored 10 times this season for the Portuguese league leaders, was excluded from Skocic’s 27-man squad, which will face the Lebanese on Thursday before taking on Syria five days later.

Taremi’s strike partnership with Sardar Azmoun has been instrumental in the Iranians sitting on top of Group A of Asia’s qualifiers for Qatar 2022.

Iran have 10 points from their first four games and are two points clear of South Korea, with only the first two finishers guaranteed to qualify for the finals.

The Iranians hope to advance to a third consecutive World Cup and the country’s sixth in total.

Iran Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand, Amir Abedzadeh, Payam Niazmand

Defenders: Shoja Khalilzadeh, Mohammadhossein Kanaanizadegan, Omid Nourafkan, Sadegh Moharami, Milad Mohammadi, Majid Hosseini, Saleh Hardani, Siavash Yazdani

Midfielders: Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Saeid Ezatolahi, Milad Sarlak, Ahmad Nourollahi, Yasin Salmani, Ehsan Hajisafi, Soroush Rafiei, Vahid Amiri, Saman Ghoddos, Mehdi Torabi, Ali Gholizadeh

Forwards: Karim Ansarifard, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Ghaedi, Kaveh Rezaei, Allahyar Sayyadmanesh

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by William Mallard)

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