Ghalenoei wants a sharper Iran

the-afc.com

Ashgabat: Amir Ghalenoei is demanding more potency from his Islamic Republic of Iran team despite having secured a spot at the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ and reaching Round 3 of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers following a 1-0 win over Turkmenistan on Tuesday.
The head coach, who steered Iran to the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™, was unhappy at the profligacy that could have been costly for Team Melli.

“Let me congratulate the Turkmenistan team for the good game they played,” said Ghalenoei. “The head coach has a very good team.
 
“We could have won by two or three goals, and of course, in the last minutes, there was a possibility that the game would be tied.”



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Mehdi Ghayedi’s first half stoppage time goal decided the match, as Iran found Turkmenistan harder to crack after having scored five past them last Thursday.  
 
The win put IR Iran on 10 points – the same as Uzbekistan – with both teams assured of a top two finish. 



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Uzbekistan made sure of their spot with a 3-0 win over Hong Kong, China whose head coach Jorn Andersen put the defeat down to the difference in individual quality though the Norwegian still found some silver linings from the performance of his players.
 
“We did very well in the first 15 minutes but then Uzbekistan increased the pressure and created many chances, proving that they are at a high level,” said Andersen. “Although we lost 3-0, I wouldn’t call it a bad result. The level of several strong players in the ranks of our opponent was the reason for the outcome of the match.
 
“True, I was not completely satisfied with the result. We conceded very simple goals. But I can say that the guys tried their best. I thank them for that.”

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