|BY AFSHIN DASTAFSHAN|
|28th March 2008|
Iran Olympic side settled for a goalless draw with Jordan in their third Beijing 2008 Olympics qualifier in Tehran on March 28th, playing at home this was a match Iran had to win. At the half way point in the qualifiers Iran and Jordan are on two points after three matches, both sides are now struggling to qualify for next year’s Olympics in China.
Results did not go Iran’s way in the other match either with Australia beating table toppers Saudi Arabia 2-0, this win puts Australia on 5 points and only one point behind leaders Saudi Arabia, with the top two teams qualifying from each group and three matches left the Saudis and Australia are in firm control of Group D. it would have been in Iran’s interest for the Saudis to beat Australia; that would have left the socceroos on 2 points and level with Iran now.
What are Iran’s chances of qualifying for Beijing 2008? Iran’s next match is against Jordan away whilst the Saudis take on Australia at home. In their latest match Iran Olympic (under 23 team) side continued to miss scoring opportunities in front of goal with Adel Kolahkaj coming close to scoring several times, Iran were the dominant side in the second half but failed to score, despite their inferior possession Jordan had three chances to score so Iran struggled in defence also. Iran had a total of 15 corners in this match compared with 2 corners for Jordan, this is a reflection of Iran’s dominance in possession.
Another concern is that Iran have played two of their three home matches but have failed to win and home ties are the ones you must win, in the three matches played so far totalling 270 minutes of play time Iran have failed to score a single goal drawing two home matches 0-0 and losing the away match 1-0. The signs are therefore not encouraging for Iran under 23 side even though analysing the group mathematically Iran can still qualify for the Olympics by winning their remaining three matches, two wins might be enough depending on how results go elsewhere.