By Michael Pavitt

UAE players celebrate Mabkhout's record breaking goal ©Getty ImagesThe fastest goal in Asian Cup history helped the United Arab Emirates advance to the quarter finals today, while a moment of magic from Sardar Azmoun enabled Iran to join them.

The two will now go head to head on Monday (January 19) to decide the group winner.

Just 14 seconds had been played of the Bahrain against UAE match before the Emirati fans were sent into raptures, as Ali Mabkhout scored a historic opener.

The Bahrain defence were put under pressure straight after kick-off as Omar Abdulrahman stole the ball off Bahrain defender Abdulla Omar's toes, before feeding Mabkhout with an exquisite chipped pass for the striker to convert from a narrow angle.

Following the startling opening Bahrain nearly fell further behind as Ahmed Khalil crashed a shot against the foot of the post, following patient hold up play from Mohamed Abdulrahman.

The chance game back to haunt the UAE side just ten minutes later as Jaycee John rose highest at the far post to power a header past Majed Naser to draw the teams level.

A frantic first half continued as John nearly repeated his trick, seeing another header saved, before Mabkhout saw an effort cleared off the line at the other end.

The second half saw the lively Omar Abdulrahman graze the crossbar with a sweetly struck effort from an indirect free kick, after having the ball laid off to his dangerous left foot.

Sardar Azmoun wheels away in celebration after his winning goal ©Getty ImagesSardar Azmoun wheels away in celebration after his winning goal ©Getty Images

Bahrain's resistance came to an end, as their skipper Hussain could only head in a free kick into his own net, and although Bahrain had a late flurry of attacks, UAE were able to hold on to clinch a second successive win and a quarter final berth.

"It was a tough game and the most important thing was we got the three points," said Mahdi Ali, the UAE coach.

"The best moment for me is when I see the UAE fans are happy for the win, that's a great feeling.

"This win will help relax us a bit with regards the pressure [for the game] against Iran and we will try to go again with the same mentality."

The match against Iran will decide the winners of Group C, after they claimed a narrow 1-0 win at Stadium Australia against Qatar, meaning the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts are eliminated. 

A closely fought first half failed to see either side gain a foothold, in a fiercely fought midfield battle, but the second half saw a moment of quality that was enough to separate the two sides.

Rubin Kazan forward Azmoun, received the ball with his back to goal, before spinning past his man and dispatching into the corner past the helpless goalkeeper Burhan.

Azmoun's joy at giving Iran the lead was short lived as he was substituted, suffering from an injury, but his goal proved the decisive moment of the match, confirming Iran's progression.

Tomorrow's matches will see Group D leaders Iraq and Japan aiming to maintain their 100 per cent records, whereas Jordan meet Palestine with both sides hoping to get off the mark.

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