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Iran vs. Thailand

Team Melli struggles against Thailand with a narrow win.

Tehran

Team Melli defeated Thailand 2-1 in Group B of AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualification rounds in Azadi Stadium. The goals were scored by defender Seyed Jalal Hosseni (67) and Reza Ghoochannejad (69) while Thailand scored on the 80th minute from a splendid volley by Teerasil Dangda.

Carlos Queiroz started the match with his usual tried and trusted players. From the last match against Korea, there was only 3 changes all due to fitness nature rather than tactical.

In the first 20 minutes , Team Melli played a lazy game with little to indicate that it will be an easy match for the group leaders.  The best chance fell to Ashkan Dejagah who was released by a smart through ball by Nekounam. Dejagah escaped from the offside trap and was faced with only the goalkeeper to beat.   The Fulham player lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper but his ball just missed the target by inches, a precious chance wasted.

On the 23rd minute  – Shojaei claimed he was fouled in the 18 yards area of Thailand but the referee played on.

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A minute later  another chance fell to Ghoochannejad .when he had a clear shot and the Goalkeeper to beat  with a  marker chasing him. The standard Liege forward  puts his foot under the ball to shoot skyward.

Thailand team had one good chance that Ahmadi handled with a bit of difficulty.

  36th minute Nekounam headed high  from a nice cross by Mahini.

45+1 a nicely weighted Free kick by Dejagah from the right , finds Nekounam who heads directly into Thai goalkeeper hands. .

Overall, it was a poor first half by Team Melli. The team played uninspiring game , lackluster and an eyesore to the fans. The 2 serious chances they created were wasted , while most of the game was played in the midfield. Lack of stamina, urgency , passing mistakes, poor coordination was evident. In a nutshell the team looked like a group of misfits.

The 2nd half started without any substitution by Queiroz who was perhaps satisfied with the lethargic display of his players. The first quarter of the period continued as it ended  to the disgust of the 17000 fans. Despite their limited numbers , the fans were quite vocal in their support of the team until the hour, when protests and negative chants were heard within occasional boos targeting some Team Melli players,

The poor display prompted a late change of players when Ansarifard came in for the ineffective and visibly out of form Dejagah,

A minute after the substitution  in the 67th, Jalal  Hosseini  who was in the Thai penalty box for a corner , received a loose ball from Mahini. The central defender , like a skilled and seasoned forward , cleverly slotted the ball to the right of the advancing goalkeeper to score Iran’s first goal to a great relief of everyone in the Azadi.

Two minutes after the goal , Shojaei released Ansarifard on the left. The Tractorsazi forward, nicely squared the ball for Reza Ghoochannejad who tapped in the second.

 Steven” Mehrdad “ Beitashour made his debut for Team Melli after he was substituted in for Hossein Mahini at the right back position. The 15 minutes he played was not enough to judge on Beitashour , but their were glimpses of hope.

Iran vs. Thailand Shojaei
Iran vs. Thailand Shojaei

Minute 80 Thailand’s Teerasil Dangda scored a beautiful consolation goal from a volley just outside the box after the Iranian defense blunder in which they failed to clear a simple loose ball.

There were two late chances that should have sealed the game to Iran beyond doubt , but wasted. In the 85th minute, a clever and a unique 1-2 between Khalatbary and Ghoochannejad , released the former to face  the Thai keeper, however the angled shoot by Khalatbary was fingertip saved to a corner. It was a good save .

Then Ansarifard wasted 2 consecutive changes in the added time, once when he squared the ball to Ghoochannejad while he was in a much better position to shoot and score, then the second a minute later when he shoot feebly while clear.

Despite the win and the 3 points, there was no doubt that this match was one of the worst in the recent run of poor performances by Team Melli. The fact that Team Melli is winning , by the tightest possible margins despite not playing an attractive football , is itself a good omen.

This team lacked much of what it takes to perform to respectable standard in the world cup. Not surprising of a team that compromises mainly of  bench players  lacking competitive match practice.

 With such a performance , the worries of the fans would  certainly increase as well the pressure on Queiroz who should start thinking about delivering a respectable, honorable football to Iran.

 The win takes Iran to the top of the table with 7 points ahead of Kuwait with 5 points which drew earlier against Lebanon in Beirut.

Iran Line up:

Ahmadi, Beigzadeh, Montazerri, Mahini (75’ Beitashour), Hosseini, Khalatbary, Nekounam, Teymourian, Dejagah (66 ansarifard),  Shojaei (78 Jahanbakhsh),  Ghoochannejad

Asian Cup 2015 (Qs) MD3: Iran 2-1 Thailand

Published on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 02:53

Tehran: Jalal Hosseini and Reza Ghoochannejhad struck in a devastating three-minute spell midway through the second half as Iran beat Thailand 2-1 on Tuesday to move two points clear at the top of Group B in the AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualifiers.

Despite dominating the match at the Azadi Stadium, the home side were frustrated by the Thais until centre-back Hosseini broke the deadlock in the 67th minute and Ghoochannejhad tapped in a second shortly afterwards,

Teerasil Dangda pulled a goal back for the visitors with 10 minutes left but despite missing a few chances to put the game to bed, the Iranians still picked up the win to move up to seven points from three games, two in front of second-placed Kuwait, who drew 1-1 at Lebanon earlier in the day.

Despite the win, Iran coach Carlos Queiroz lamented the disjointed performance of his team, who had not played an international match since a 1-0 win over Korea Republic in a World Cup qualifier in June.

“I think after four months without preparations and friendlies, it was natural to see our team put out a dull performance in the first period when there was an obvious lack of organisation. However, our players gradually got better and they improved all the way through the match to the end,” said the Portuguese.

“For sure, it was not a good game for us and also the result did not exactly show the effort we put into the game as we missed a couple of very good chances and Thailand’s goal was an accident.

“But tonight’s match should be regarded as a wake-up call for Iranian football as there is no football team in the world who can survive after staying four complete months in the absolute wilderness.”

After a disappointing first half, the Iranians picked up their game after the interval but they were continually frustrated by the Thai defence and goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattankool and the Thai defence until they finally made the crucial breakthrough midway through the half.

An Iranian corner was half-cleared and as the Thais attempted to push up, the ball was played back towards the edge of the box where Hosseini neatly sidestepped a challenge before chipping the ball to the right of the sprawling Sinthaweechai.

Buoyed by the goal, the hosts added a second just three minutes later after some fine work on the left flank by substitute Karim Ansarifard who surged past a defender before sending a low cross to the far post where Ghoochannejhad easily tapped home.

The Thais made things interesting in the closing minutes when Narong Jansawek gained possession on the edge of the Iranian box with 10 minutes left and laid it off for Teerasil, who rifled it into the top left corner past a static Rahman Ahmadi.

But the Iranians should have sealed victory in the 85th minute through Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, whose fierce effort from 10 metres was brilliantly turned over the crossbar bySinthaweechai.

While the Iranians are flying high in the group, the Thais remained rooted to the bottom with no points from three games.

“We came to Tehran to get at least one point to give us something to build on for our return match in Bangkok but things didn’t proceed as we expected,” said Thailand coach Surachai Jaturapattarapong.

“Now, we have to use all our chances in the best way possible at home to try to get a point. But Iran are an Asian powerhouse who have already qualified for the World Cup and so the return match will also be difficult for us.”

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