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Chile pay price for resting stars, fall to Iran in friendly

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Iran celebrate Javad Nekounam's opener during their victory over Chile on Thursday.

ST. POELTEN, Austria -- Chile slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Iran on Thursday in their second-to-last friendly before hosting the Copa America in June.

Iran captain Javad Nekounam scored from short range from Andranik Teymourian's corner in the 21st minute when he was left unmarked at the far post. It was Nekounam's 38th goal in his 151st international.

Vahid Amiri beat Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo when he rounded off a counterattack set up by Reza Ghoochannejhad on the right wing five minutes into the second half, in Iran's first match since losing to Iraq on penalties in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup in January.

With a friendly against Brazil in London in three days, Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli rested several key players, including Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, though the striker came on to replace Fabian Orellana in the second half.

The South Americans dominated ball possession for most of the match but lacked efficiency in front of goal.

Mark Gonzalez missed Chile's best chance before half-time when he had his header saved by Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi in the 43rd minute.

Chile created more danger after Sanchez's appearance. On the hour mark, he set up Jose Pedro Fuenzalida but his diagonal shot went wide.

Sanchez came close in the 77th minute when he controlled the ball on the chest before sending his volley from 15 meters just over the bar.

It was Chile's second defeat in eight games since last year's World Cup.

Iran play another friendly against Sweden in Stockholm on Tuesday.

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