WATCH: Quieroz slams critics after Iran's 5-0 Asian Cup romp

Iran's former coach Branko Ivankovic had been talking up Iraq's coach Srecko Katanec while goading Quieroz to beat its bitter rival.

Iran coach Carlos Quieroz blasted his critics after his side crushed Yemen 5-0 on Monday to fire an ominous warning to its Asian Cup title rivals.

The former Real Madrid boss praised his players for “suffocating” the Group D minnows in Abu Dhabi as they ruined the war-torn country's first outing at the Asian Cup.

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But his mood turned dark when informed former national coach Branko Ivankovic, now in charge of Iran's most popular club Persepolis and a feuding adversary, had been talking up Iraq's coach Srecko Katanec while goading Quieroz to beat their bitter rival.

“Now we turn to home affairs,” sighed the Portuguese, who has frequently clashed with Iran football officials and media since taking the job in 2011.

“This is the gentleman who used to call Iranian football a circus,” added Quieroz, putting the boot into Croatian Ivankovic after dominating its opening Asian Cup fixture.

“At the moment 65 to 70 million people across Iran are praying for the national team, this intelligent man comes along to praise Iraq and its coach -- brilliant, genius!”

Iran's forward Sardar Azmoun (1st-R) celebrates after scoring a goal against Yemen. PHOTO: AFP   -  AFP

 

Mehdi Taremi scored twice for Iran, which is looking to end a 43-year title drought since last winning Asian football's most coveted prize.

“Fortunately for us the first goal came early and when you score early, it gives you the confidence and tranquility to control the game,” said Quieroz, who has been linked with the Colombia job.

“We didn't give Yemen time to breathe.”

Iraq takes on Vietnam in the other Group D game on Tuesday.

With players kidnapped by extremists, others going off to fight in the mountains or struggling to make ends meet driving taxis or working in supermarkets, just qualifying for the Asian Cup was an astonishing achievement for Yemen.

“I told the players at half-time to keep their heads up,” said Yemen's Slovakian coach Jan Kocian.

“We lost 5-0 and we have to live with the result but we have two more games and we can play better.”