Doha: An injury-time strike by Javad Nekounam earned Iran a 1-0 win over Angola at Al Sadd Stadium on Sunday night as Afshin Ghotbi’s team continued their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™.
The match was the last of Iran’s Doha-based training camp and Team Melli will fly back to Tehran on Monday morning before returning to Qatar on January 6 ahead of their opening game with Iraq on January 11.
The Iranians dominated possession throughout the game but were capable only of carving out a handful of goal-scoring opportunities.
Iran went close in the 20th minute when Hadi Aghili’s header flew across the face of goal and Seyed Jalal Hosseini just missed making contact at the far post while eight minutes before the break Pejman Nouri’s left-footed effort went across the face of goal.
Iran increased the pressure in the second half despite seeing their rhythm disrupted by a host of substitutions. One of those replacements, Iman Mobali, saw his effort from distance go just wide while Javad Nekounam missed from similar range just before the hour mark.
Angolan goalkeeper Lama, meanwhile, was on hand to deny Mohammed Reza Khalatbari when he also shot from outside the area, the substitute midfielder seeing his attempt pushed wide for a corner.
Iran’s defence was almost caught out 20 minutes from time when the Angolans made a rare break, but Valdo shot high over the bar when well placed.
Aghili could have won the game for Iran with eight minutes remaining, but his header – while unmarked and from close range – was sent wide of Lama’s right post while just seconds later the Sepahan defender was just off target again, this time heading over the bar.
Nekounam finally settled the game in the dying seconds when his right-foot shot from the edge of