Coach : Ali Daei
TEHRAN - Iran began their Asian Cup 2011 qualifying campaign in emphatic style with a thumping 6-0 defeat of ten-man Singapore at the Azadi Stadium on Wednesday.
Majid Gholamnejad, Karim Bagheri, Gholamreza Rezaei cashed in after Ismail Yunos was sent off five minutes before the break to put Iran in a commanding position before a late double from Mohammed Nouri and a Mazyar Zareh goal set the seal on a resounding triumph.
With the first-half seemingly heading towards a goalless conclusion, the complexion of the game changed after 40 minutes when Yunos was dismissed for a tackle from behind on Iranian midfielder Mohammadreza Khalatbari.
Two minutes later, Ali Daei’s team took the lead with their first real chance when striker Arash Borhani took advantage of Singapore’s weakness down the right with a strong run.
Borhani’s cross was deflected into the path of Gholamnejad and his powerful shot from outside the penalty area found the back of the net.
Borhani and captain Bagheri were then both denied by Singapore keeper Lionel Lewis before half-time.
Iran came out much stronger in the second half and went 2-0 up after eight minutes courtesy of Bagheri’s 50th international goal.
Striker Rezaei back-heeled the ball to Gholamnejad and he put it on a plate for the unmarked Bagheri to finish from six yards out.
Iran’s third came two minutes later when Bagheri’s long ball was chased down by Borhani and he set-up Rezaei, who made no mistake from inside the area.
The rout was completed with three more goals coming in the last 10 minutes.
First, Khalatbari rolled the ball into midfielder Zareh and he found the corner of the net with a neat finish from outside the area.
Then substitute Nouri scored twice just minutes after coming on.
His first and Iran’s fifth, came from Rezaei’s right-wing cross after 84 minutes.
Nouri had Rezaei to thank again a minute later after his left-wing cross eluded everyone and the substitute scored with a diving header at the far post that gave Iran coach Daei his biggest win since taking charge eight months ago.
TEHRAN - Ali Daei enjoyed his biggest ever win as Iran coach after his side thrashed Singapore 6-0 and insisted the game was a useful exercise in preparing his side for games against tougher opposition.
Following the 40th-minute dismissal of Singapore right-back Ismail Yunos, the home side ran riot in their opening AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifier in Tehran.
.Majid Gholamnejad gave Iran a half-time lead before adding two quick goals early in the second period through captain Karim Bagheri and Gholamreza Rezaei.
A Mazyar Zareh strike and two goals from Mohammed Nouri completed the rout.
Daei selected a squad compromised exclusively of home-based players and despite the lop-sided score line, still felt his young side could take plenty from the encounter.
“The players are getting better and better in terms of tactics and organisation,” said the 39-year-old.
“They are young but they will do good things for the national team. I told the players to use (this match as) preparation for more important matches.”
Daei admitted Singapore initially frustrated his side and consequently made it harder for Iran to find the initial breakthrough.
“From the first minute they defended inside their area and didn’t let us create anything,” he added. “That would have opened the game up.”
Daei also singled out former team-mate Bagheri for praise after he reached the milestone of 50 international goals with his strike.
“He’s one of our best players and he played very well today. I will always find a place for him in my teams,” he underlined. Iran’s next qualifier is away to Thailand in a fortnight before a crucial World Cup qualifier at home to Korea Republic in February.
Meanwhile, Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic pointed to the fact that the sending off of Yunos unravelled his game plan. “We played well until the 40th minute when the referee made a fateful decision to send off our player,” he said. “Even with 11 men we had difficulties but the referee made it harder.
“Before we went down to ten men Iran didn’t get close to our goal but after the red card we couldn’t reorganise.”