Quaresma goal puts Portugal ahead at halftime

While Iran needs a win to progress, Portugal will be happy with a stalemate to progress into the business end of the tournament.

Andre Silva of Portugal is challenged by Ramin Rezaeian and Morteza Pouraliganji of Iran.   -  Getty Images

Ricardo Quaresma was the difference between Portugal and Iran in the first 45 minutes as the striker sent a trailblazer into the net from the edge of the box to put Portugal 1-0 ahead of Iran in their Group B league match at the Mordovia Arena on Monday.

While Iran needs a win to progress, Portugal will be happy with a stalemate to progress into the business end of the tournament.

It was talisman Cristiano Ronaldo who was in the thick of things in the third minute when he sent a shot on target but an agile Iran custodian Alireza Beiranvand was on his mark to thwart any danger.

Soon, Iran upped the ante in an instant and Mehdi Taremi ran into a cross but a wayward attempt did no good to his team.

Portugal's best chance came in the ninth miniute when Joao Mario had an open goal but the midfielder could shoot only wide much to the bewilderment of his teammates.

Iran attacked relentlessly but the tale of lack of precision in the final third continued past the 20 mninute mark when Iran's Ramin Rezaeian could only manage a shot way above the crossbar. A couple of freekicks too were off target as the deadlock remained intact at the end of the half hour mark.

Portugal started to step up on the gas but the deadlock remained as repeated inroads into the Iran's box yielded no result.

It however needed a Quaresma special and his right footer found the left top corner of the net.