TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Thousands of soccer fans rushed for the exits after Iran beat Japan in a World Cup qualifying match, setting off a stampede that crushed five people to death and injured 40 others, state-run TV said Saturday.

No reason was given for the rush to leave the stadium.

More than 100,000 spectators packed Azadi stadium on Friday night, and all raced for the exits at the end of the match, causing the stampede, doctors told the broadcast.

At least five of the injured were in critical condition, meaning the number of dead could rise, the report said.

Iran won the match, 2-1, putting it in first place in Group B.

Soccer-mad Iran, looking for its third World Cup appearance, made its championship debut in Argentina in 1978 and played in France in 1998.


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