Team Melli were held to a goalless draw by Jordan in the last friendly game before Tuesday as they prepare for the crucial match against Lebanon in Beirut.
Before the kickoff , the two teams stood in one minute silence in the memory of Mahmood Al Jowhary , the Egyptian former Team Manager of Jordan , who died in Amman as a result of heart attack a couple of days back.
The match kickoff, which was played in King Abdulla the second Stadium in Al Quasmieh in the suburbs of Amman , and attracted a small Jordanian crowd, was delayed for half an hour due to the Jordanian squad arriving at the venue late as a result of breakdown of their bus transporting them to the stadium!
The host , who are also preparing for a vital match against Australia in which their fate will be known in the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifiers, were quite determined to make amends for their poor results and fought quite well to control the middle of the park. Occasionally they also showed superior technical abilities and managed to beat Iranian players on one to one encounters. Haddadifar was guilty of several lapses in the midfield while both Karimi and Nekounam contribution where modest.
Despite the Jordanian controlling the game , the first real chance for scoring came to Iran when Karim Ansarifard , a late addition to the squad after he was overlooked initially , received a long ball on the right flank and with a sudden burst of pace , beat his defender but shoot from a distance off mark.
Jordan, rarely tested Iran’s defenses as Rahmati had nothing serious to worry about in this half, while the next scoring chance also came to Iran when Khalatbary’s beautifully curved ball hit the post.
With 4 changes in Team Melli mainly in the middle of the field , Team Melli piled on the pressure in the second half as Omid Nazari , Pejman Nouri and Mohammad Nouri were substituted in . Iran took control of the ball and the midfield and was visibly the better team. Several chances were created and most of them were executed by Mohammad Reza Khalatbary of which one header from a delicate cross was easily dealt with by Amer Shafi’s , and then Khalatbary again, hit a ferocious shot that Jordan’s goalkeeper only managed to parry while another chance went to Omid Nazari who shot beautifully on the far right hand side of Amir Shafi, for the gallant Jordan keeper to save it miraculously to keep his sheet clean.
While all the clear scoring opportunities went Iran’s way, a solitary real chance of the game came to Jordan when a header struck the post late in the second half.
Overall, despite the much better performance by Team Melli in the second half, the team clearly lacks cohesion and organization. The fluidity of the last match against Tunisia, was also missing in this game with the absence of players like Ashkan Dejagah and Ando Teymourian. Despite Masoud Shojae starting the game and playing over 70 minutes , his contribution was minimal as he clearly displayed a lack of match practice which perhaps requires a long time to reach his peak. A knock received by Mohammad Ghazi , late in the 2nd half forced Queiroz to substitute him. There is no word on his injury, the list of which is starting to grow in the squad.
Carlos Queiroz was dismissed from the game in the closing minutes when he vehemently disputed two calls by the linesman. The Portuguese seemed to be quite animated and upset with the happy whistling referee for UAE.
Team Melli will be flying to Beirut on Sunday for the game on September 11th against Lebanon.
Match Details Here