There was no stopping China from retaining the 2019 Blind Football Asian Championships. Despite a keenly contested final, the Chinese riding on a solitary first half goal managed to beat Iran 1-0 in Pattaya, Thailand.
Iran won Paralympic silver at Rio 2016 but again missed out on Asian glory as China scooped their sixth continental title.
This was also for the second time in row that China had beaten Iran to claim the trophy. They had previously won against Iran in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur in 2017.
Both finalists, however, had already celebrated Tokyo 2020 Paralympic qualification on account of reaching the final at Pattaya Youth Center.
The breakthrough came in the 16th minute through a corner. Iran fought hard in search of an equaliser but the Chinese held their defences tightly till the final whistle.
In the match for the bronze medal, Japan got the better of the hosts Thailand to win 2-1. The Japanese were guaranteed a spot at Tokyo 2020 as the host nation. Also, newcomers India surprised Malaysia to find the back of the net twice in the second half and clinch fifth place.
Apart from China, Iran and hosts Japan, reigning Paralympic champions Brazil, Argentina, Spain and France have already qualified for Tokyo2020.
The final slot at the Games will be decided at the 2019 Blind Football African Championships in Enugu, Nigeria, next month.
5th-6th place play-off: India 2 Malaysia 0
Bronze medal game: Japan 2 Thailand 1
Gold medal game: China 1 Iran 0
7 South Korea