Iranian crowd sets Asian Cup standard

Ben McKay

Iran might be 12,000 kilometres away from AAMI Park but a 17,000-strong crowd created a little slice of Tehran on Sunday night.

Iran enjoyed fanatical support on their way to a 2-0 Asian Cup win over Bahrain, with goals from Ehsan Hajsafi and Masoud Shojaei either side of half-time.

With just a handful of Bahrain supporters in the stands, the pro-Iranian crowd was in full voice and found a team in full song.

Only Australia have drawn a bigger crowd during the Asian Cup so far, but the Iranians comfortably out-cheered the local side.

Iran's matches have been the highest-subscribed games outside the Socceroos, with the support surprising even well-travelled coach Carlos Queiroz.

Queiroz has managed Real Madrid and spent years as Sir Alex Ferguson's number two at Manchester United but saluted what he saw in Melbourne.

"I was very much impressed with this stadium... (and) the spectators and the way we were treated," he said.

Asian Cup organising committee chief executive Michael Brown said efforts engaging local communities to rally behind teams were bearing fruit.

We are delighted to see such a big, enthusiastic and loud crowd at the Iran v Bahrain game," he said.

"We have done a lot of work engaging the multicultural communities and our Iranian community ambassadors have done a superb job rallying their supporters to come out and support their team.

The downside of such support was evident outside AAMI Park as the match unfolded, with hundreds of people such outside unable to buy tickets.

With most ticket booths unstaffed, fans were left waiting in lines as the game unfolded.