Ireland Coach : Liam Tuohy
THE REPUBLIC of Ireland got of to a winning start in the "Mini. World Cup" Independence Trophy competition in Recife, Brazil yesterday. Playing in Group 2 of the qualifying section the Irish side recovered well from an early shock goal by Iran to score twice in the second half.
As a result of their victory Ireland now hold second place to Portugal in the group.
Iran, who represent Asia and were expected to be fairly easy opening opposition really upset calculations with that tenth minute goal. Striker, Ghelichkhani, caught goalkeeper Alan Kelly out of position and sent a swinging shot to the back of the net.
The Iranian goal did not give a real picture of the first half because the Irish dominated most of the time, though both goalkeepers had opportunities for spectacular play.
After scoring, the Iranians turned to the defense in an effort to retain their advantage, but the aggressive Irish were not to be denied.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime Ireland held their breath when Iran center half, Parvin All, dribbled through their defense in the 60th minute and netted. But Italian referee Aurelio Angonese disallowed the goal on the grounds that Ali Parvin obstructed an Irish player.
With the Asians still protesting, Leech raced down the field, evaded two defenders and slammed the ball-into the net from 25 yards to even the score. This was the turning point of the match, the Irish suddenly lost their tension and nervousness and began to combine better, keeping Iran under steady pressure. Three minutes after the equalizer, outside left Givens scored to clinch the match.
The proceedings had opened on something of a discordant note. The match was delayed because a police band scheduled to play the national anthems of the two countries was involved in a bus accident near the Santa Cruz Stadium. The musician walked to the stadium and then discovered they had the wrong anthem for Ireland with them, they had the music of "God Save the Queen." The error was discovered in time so the musical ceremonies were dispensed with and all ended well for Ireland.
The match took place before crowd of 10,500.