Iran 2-1 Kuwait
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 22:15
Iran came from a goal down for the third successive match to defeat Kuwait 2-1 and finish top of the table as Group A of the 2012 AFC Championship reached its conclusion on Wednesday.
Kuwait’s defeat proved not to be too costly, however, as they secured their place in the last eight as runners-up to Iran following Laos’ 2-1 defeat of Yemen in the other Group A fixture taking place simultaneously at the Rah Ahan Stadium
Bader Thekr Allah gave Kuwait a 27th minute lead which was cancelled out six minutes from the interval by a stunning Seyed Majid Hosseini free-kick. Ali Shojaei extended Iran’s lead midway through the second-half with the defender’s 62nd minute strike transpiring to be the winning goal.
Iran had conceded alarmingly early goals in their first two Group A fixtures, going one down against Laos after just two minutes before lasting just sixty seconds longer against Yemen.
Head coach Ali Doustimehr had insisted this was something they had to work and the tournament hosts avoided an early mishap against Kuwait although this was primarily due to the fact that Iran’s attack had their opponents on the backfoot since kick-off.
But for the third successive match Iran would concede the first goal and in the 27th minute Abdulrahman Al Failakawi’s probing ball found Bader Thekr Allah in space in the Iranian penalty box allowing the Kuwaiti defender to fire a low shot past Danial Kazemnia for his second goal of the campaign.
Kuwait’s advantage lasted just 12 minutes with Iran skipper Seyed Majid Hosseini unleashing a blistering long-range free-kick that flew past Kuwait captain Ali Jeragh and into the back of the net.
Iran bossed the second-half and their pressure paid off in the 62nd minute when Ali Shojaei bundled home a corner, the third flag-kick in quick succession.
As it transpired it was Shojaei’s goal that settled the contest as Iran continued to dominate the match without being able to capitalise on a tiring Kuwait defence, although Iran did have a goal ruled out for offside in stoppage-time
Iran’s victory sets up a last-eight clash with Group B runners-up Australia, who lost 3-2 on penalties to Iraq in the earlier fixture at PAS Stadium, while the Group A winners await for Kuwait as the 2012 AFC U-16 Championship reaches the quarter-final stage on Sunday.