Iran’s U23 team (Omid Team) defeated Nepal U23 5-0 in Group C of the AFC U-23 Championship match held at Azadi today. The first half ended 2-0 for Iran U23.
Iran’s goal were scored by Arsalan Motahari minute 15 [1-0] , Behnam Barzay from the penalty spot in the 28th minute [2-0] , Sardar Azmoun on the 54th [3-0] , Ali Karimi on the 67th minute [4-0] and Shahin Saghebi on 88th minute [5-0].
Unfortunately, the match was played in front of empty Azadi Stadium bar a few hundred that turned up to cheer the Omid players. Nowrooz Holidays is one of the reasons for lack of interest by the fans.
The match was a one sided affair where Iran’s Omid controlled from the beginning not allowing the Nepalese team any time on the ball. Nepal, despite having a few good players, lacked in confidence and ambition and seemed to focus on conceding the least number of goals.
Despite the supremacy of Omid Team , the result does not truly reflect the game as the Iranian players wasted a handful of scoring chances. Considering the opportunities missed, the result could have been easily in double figure by minute 75 of the match. Some slack finishing, lack of vision, complacency and inaccuracy in the last shoot by the Iranian forwards, saved the blushes of the Nepalese team. Credit must also be given to the Nepalese goalkeeper , who was their best player by far, who executed some heroics to keep the powerful Iranians at bay.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh was given a rest day after his long journey from Holland where he played his last game in the league by winning promotion for NEC some 10 weeks before the league conclusion.
Azmoun played with finesse and style however, he was found wanting on several easy balls that he should have scored. One of the more beautiful scenes of the match was his close range powerful header that was spectacularly saved by Nepal keeper.
Despite the emphatic result and the supremacy of the Omid Team against what was a weak opponent whose priority was damage limitation and time wasting, the overall shape of the team was lacking in several areas. The team looked and played like 11 individual talented players each with his own excellent skills. What blemished the display, however, was the poor teamwork especially in the finishing.
Improved and more efficient Teamwork is needed against the better oppositions. With more games ahead and practice sessions, it is hoped that weakness areas are covered , although none was apparent against a weak team. The are enough talented players in this current Omid team for Iran to stand a very good chance on making it to the Olympics. The onus is on the coaching staff to maintain discipline and good standard in the long road to qualification.
For the first official match , the team gave the few hundred fans in Azadi , quite a lot of hope and by the time Saudi Arabia meets Iran in the last match , the team should have jelled together much better and understanding between the players improved.
Tehran: Iran took the early initiative in Group C of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers as the Group C hosts ran out comfortable 5-0 winners over Nepal in Monday’s later match at the PAS Stadium following Palestine’s 2-0 defeat of Afghanistan.
Arsalan Motahhari, who came off the bench to score in Naft Tehran’s 2-1 come-from-behind win over Al Shabab in last week’s AFC Champions League, put the home side one up after 14 minutes before a 27th minute penalty from skipper Behnam Barzay gave Iran a 2-0 lead to take into the interval at the PAS Stadium.
Sardar Azmoun, scorer of two goals for the senior side at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, made it 3-0 ten minutes into the second half and after Ali Karimi added to the Russia-based winger’s strike with Iran’s fourth in the 67th minute, Shahin Saghebi rounded off the victory three minutes from full time, with the substitute getting his name on the score sheet ten minutes after coming on to replace captain Barzay.
Iran are not in action again until Friday when they take on Palestine who will be looking to go into the meeting with the Group C hosts having recorded their second win of the campaign when they face Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Ten group winners and five best second-placed teams from all groups will join hosts Qatar at the AFC U-23 Championship 2016, with January’s 16-team competition also serving as Asia’s qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games in Rio.