Iran: Carlos Queiroz (POR)
Lebanon: Theo Buecker (GER)
Team Melli Captain Javad Nekounam scored a brace as Iran defeated Lebanon 4-0 in the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifications round in packed Azadi stadium. Mohammed Reza Khalatbary opened the scoring in the 38th minute and on the stroke of half time, Nekounam scored with a header to make it 2-0.
Right at the beginning of the second half Reza Ghoochannejad scored the third , while Nekounam sealed the win with a thunderous shot to make it 4-0 in the 85th minute..
Iran started the match quite strongly and manage to dominate the game from the onset. The result was an onslaught of attacking moves , which due to haste , inaccurate delivery , and poor finishing , it failed to produce any goals. Lebanon who had nothing to lose had a clear strategy in this game. With 9 regular players missing from the line up due to different reasons, the players embarked on a damage limitation exercise. Lebanon tactic was to “Park the bus”, frustrate the opposition, play act and hope for a break. The Lebanese managed to frustrate the Iranians all right but it was only a matter of time before their defense would break down.
Lebanon’s practice of time wasting , which is quite common with the Arab teams across the region, not only frustrated the Iranian players but it also infuriated the 70,000 fans in Azadi , who jeered and shouted against Lebanon players. The Lebanese started play acting and faking injury as early as the 15th minutes in the hope of breaking up the constant pressure created by Team Melli. Chance after chance went begging and wasted mostly ending up around Reza Ghoocannejad.
Despite the players targeting Ghoochannejad on the crosses and final passes, there was lack of quality in the deliveries were not accurate enough for the Standard Liege player to create scoring opportunities.
Khalatbary scoring celebration
Khalatbary scoring celebration
Lebanon’s keeper Abbas Hassan , was showing his class when he saved three consecutive balls late in the first half , with his fine timing and reflexes. However , he was left wanting against Khalatbary , who zig zagged his way between two central defenders and delivered a nice ball far from the reach of Abbas Hassan to Open Team Melli’s account on minute 38.
Just before half time, a sweet and delicate chip from Heydari on the right side, and a towering jump from Nekounam ended up in the Iranian Captain scoring the second just before the final whistle.
Iran was up 2-0 at the half time and in a commanding position
The second half started like a whirling with Team Melli going on an all out attack. This resulted in a quick goal by Reza Ghoochannejad , who cleverly got clear from his mark in the box with a shimmy before blasting the ball right in the ceiling against the advancing Abbas Hassan, There was no chance for Lebanon hero to save such a goal.
The final goal was another beauty from Javad Nekounam. The Team Melli Captain increased his tally of international goals to 36 in 134 international matches, with a powerful shot right outside the box to scored his second and team’s fourth in the 85th minute.
With this win, Iran is now ranked second in the group and only need one point is required from the final group match against Korea Rep. in Ulsan next Tuesday to qualify directly to the FIFA World Cup finals.
Iran vs. Lebanon WC2014 qualifiers goals