Riffa: A goal at either end for Abolfazl Razzaghpour gave Islamic Republic of Iran a 1-1 draw against defending champions Qatar in their AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2016 Group C encounter on Friday.
Iran defender Razzaghpour was left to rue his misfortune at the Bahrain National Stadium as he deflected an Abdullah Abdulsalam header into his own goal in the 38th minute, after it initially looked to be going wide.
Despair turned to elation in the second half though, as Razzaghpour equalised with a thumping strike despite his team being reduced to 10 men shortly after the break.
Qatar started the game promisingly although Iran were giving as good as they got in the opening exchanges.
Tarek Salman surged forward in the 3rd minute for Qatar, leaving his marker on his backside as he fired in a powerful shot that just missed the right hand post.
This set the tone for the first half, with the two teams exchanging speculative shots from distance, the majority of which drifted high or wide.
Iran’s best chance of the half came in the 28th minute, as Shahin Abbasian made good headway down the right flank before crossing deep to the far post for Ali Shojaei to knock the ball down.
Reza Karmollachaab was facing the wrong way as the ball arrived but he pulled off an acrobatic bicycle kick that arrowed towards the bottom right hand corner of the goal, only for Mohammad Albakari to dive low to his left to keep it out.
IRAN’S RAZZAGHPOUR RELIEVED AFTER FINDING REDEMPTION
Riffa: Islamic Republic of Iran defender Abolfazl Razzaghpour turned from villain to hero in less than 60 minutes when his team held Qatar to a 1-1 draw in their Group C opener at the AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2016 at the Bahrain National Stadium on Friday.
Razzaghpour first gifted Qatar the lead with an own goal in the 38th minute but turned saviour after netting a powerful left-footer from outside the box to earn a precious point for his side.
“I pray before each game that if I make any mistake in the game, I should remain focused to help my team in all the ways possible,” he told the-AFC.com on his thoughts after the dreadful own goal.
“I kept my concentration on the game and had told my friend midfielder, Omid Nor Afkan before to pass me the ball if he sees any space in front me so that I can take the shot with all my power.
“Thankfully, I got the space, the pass and I did not want to miss this chance.”
“We are not under any kind of pressure. We don’t think about the performances of other Iranian teams and want to think only about our match,” he said about Iran’s recent successes in football and futsal fields.