Team Melli scored an easy win away in Bangkok against Thailand in matchday four of the AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualifiers. Ashakan Dejagah , Reza Ghoochannejad and Alireza Jahanbaksh scored Iran goals in the 3-0 win which cemented Iran’s lead of group “B” with 10 points.
Despite the dire need for a positive result at home, the Thai team hardly showed any initiative or urgency allowing Iran to comfortably control the game’s rhythm. However, despite this control Team Melli first shot in anger against the Thai goalkeeper did not come until the 26th minute when Ghoochannejad shot was parried by the goalkeeper.
Two minutes later, Ashakan Dejgah scored the opener after the Thai defense failed to clear a ball , allowing Dejagah all the time in the world to slot the ball and scored Iran’s first.
Reza Ghoochannejad continued his prolific scoring record with Team Melli when he scored his team 2nd goal on the 42nd minute of the half. This was the 7th goal for Ghoochannejad in 9 matches for Team Melli.
The first half ended 2-0 leaving the Thai team a mountain to climb.
As expected, in the second half all that Iran did was to consolidate the result with an eye on the next match in Beirut in 5 days. Again, Iran had more of the ball and fully controlled the midfield. Despite the substitutions by Thailand coach to energize his midfield which was well marshaled by Nekounam and Teymourian, those changes failed to change the outcome of the match which was always progressing towards Iran.
Late substitutions by Queiroz saw Khalatbary , Ansarifard and Jahanbakhsh replacing Jabbari , Ghoochannejad and Shojaei. It was the substitutes Khaltabary and Jahanbaskh who combined late into injury time for Iran’s 3rd goal. Khalatbary fine work on the flank saw him dribble past his marker right on the line before squaring to Jahanbakhsh who slotted the ball past the helpless Thai goalkeeper. It was Jahanbakhsh first goal in his only the 2nd match as a substitute.
The match saw the debut of the German based Goalkeeper Daniel Davari and also the first full match for Mehrdad “Steven”Beitashour. Despite a few hiccups in the first half , nothing of a serious kind, Davari was quite solid in the second and easily dealt with everything the Thai threw at him. Beitashour also played a solid match and managed a few crosses from the flank.
The trigger happy Australian referee, Ben Willimas, showed multiple cards for both teams including a late straight red card for the Thailand forward who tackled Ehsan Hajysafy just outside the box. .
The result of the match between Lebanon and Kuwait will determine if Iran has qualified for the finals of FC Asian Cup 2015.
Iran now leads the table with 10 points ahead of Kuwait’s 5 and Lebanon 4. Thailand is out of the competition.