Bangkok: Islamic Republic of Iran advanced to the 2017 AFC U-20 Futsal Championship final after a resounding 7-5 victory over Thailand on Wednesday.
In a clash between two futsal giants, Thailand’s Panut Kittipanuwong opened the scoring in the first 30 seconds, but Iran’s skipper Touhid Lotfi responded moments later to level the score.
Iran looked to extend their lead at the 10th minute, but a swift Thai counterattack ensued and Kittipanuwong duly doubled the host nation’s advantage.
Iran, however, found an equaliser once again, when Mohammad Taheri’s free kick found the back of the net after Thailand received their fifth foul in the first-half.
Both sides began to play more cautiously thereafter, conscious that another foul would mean offering their opponents a penalty kick, and both sides seemed content to reach the break with two goals apiece in Bangkok Arena..
Sarawut Phalaphruek and Worrapluch Jiwjaratrong’s criss-crosses in the Iranians’ penalty area were exceptional but custodian Abolfazi Shahbazi dealt with any threats.
All was almost said and done when Iran’s Mohammad Jame broke the deadlock in the 39th minute giving Ali Arani’s side the lead, but it was to be short-lived as Jiwjaratrong’s short-range strike gave Miguel Rodrigo’s side a chance to fight again, forcing the game into extra-time.
Lotfi then picked up his second goal of the match in the 43rd minute, before Thailand’s power play handed Muhammad Osamanmusa the opportunity to etch his name on the scoresheet in the last second of the first-half of extra-time.
Thailand committed their sixth second-half foul, giving Hamidreza Karimi the opportunity to score through a penalty, before Lotfi claimed his third a minute later.
Kittipanuwong’s goal in the 48th minute narrowed the margin to just one goal but their power play backfired when Hamzeh Kamdkhoda slid the ball into an unguarded goal, sending the Iranians to the final and Rodrigo’s side into the third-place play-off on Thursday.
Thailand: KITTIPANUWONG 1’, KITTIPANUWONG 10’, JIWJARATRONG 40’, OSAMANMUSA 45’, KITTIPANUWONG 48’
Iran: LOTFI 1’, TAHERI 12’, JAME 39’, LOTFI 43’, KARIMI 46’, LOTFI 47’, KADKHODA 50’