Just as most Team Melli fan breathed a sigh of relief for having a strong and reliable goalkeeper between the post of Team Melli goal line, Alireza Biranvand has hit his lowest form since joining Iran’s squad.
After years of unceratinity and problems in the goalkeeping post with several changes of goalkeepers, it was apparent that the young Biranvand has displayed the form that augurs well for the future of Team Melli. His reflexes, Aerial command and body frame is a source of confidence for the coaches and defenders alike. It seems all is settled at the back and the guardian of Team Melli during the world cup 2018 would be none other than Alireza Biranvand.
Biranvand kept 17 clean sheets in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers including 12 consecutive clean sheets lasting 1108 minutes. This is a statistic of the highest caliber.
And then, the Syria match!
For the first and last time in Round 3, Iran concedes a goal, in fact two goals against Syria. On both of the goals, Birnavand was the culprit and weak. The second Syrian goal in the added time of the match, was particularly embarrassing as mild shot by Syria’s Omar Al Souma passed between Biranvands wide open legs into the net.
This was the start of a spiral dive in form by Biranvand as Persepolis look exposed with Birnavand in goal. Almost all the goals conceded had a hallmark of bad goalkeeping. The Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal scored 4 goals passed him in the semifinal first leg of the AFC Champions League. In the Persian Gulf League, Biranvand was not doing well either as he was a culprit in several of the goals conceded that resulted in Persepolis dropping from the top spot of the league table.
Branko Ivankovic had enough of the long spell of bad performance by Biranvand and has benched him for the next Persepolis league match; however, the concern remains if Queiroz has still confidence in him. If the last 5 or 6 matches are to go by, Team Melli cannot rely on Biranvand and must find a suitable replacement. Haghighi, who is playing in Sweden now, has been called again. He is the most natural replacement if Birnavand does not improve vastly. In all cases, goalkeeping is once again becoming a worry.