Iran v Japan : Players’ ratings

It was a famous and deserved victory for Team Melli. In a match that showed
the grit of the Iranian players and confirmed the theory that the Iranians
perform miracles under pressure, Iran beat the favorites and top-ranked Asian
team 2-1 in Doha in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.

While missing the top scorer, Mehdi Taremi, and two main defenders Sadegh Moharrami
and Majid Hosseini, a major lineup change had to be introduced to the toughest
match of them all. Ghalenoei , gambled and excelled. His makeshift lineup vs
Japan was rewarded with a deserved win.

The players’ rating against Japan

Alireza Beiranvand: Was not really tested by surprisingly timid Japanese forwards. The goal conceded was a lot of fortunate for the Japanese and he could not have done any better. Welsh player thanks to a solid defense. His Aerial work was fine and had no problem catching most of the crosses aimed toward his goal. Kept a clean sheet. 7.70

Shoja’a Khalilzadeh: Excellent all-round performance. A player who always gives 100%. Seemed much more comfortable alongside his long-time partner, Kananizadegan. Despite his advancing age, he was quite dynamic and covered the center of the defense well, except for the goal incident where he and Kanani left a wide-open gap. 7.70

Hossein Kanani-Zadegan : Put one foot wrong in the goal conceded but otherwise a good performance from the central defender. He was strong when needed and intimidating. Played well with Khalilzadeh beside him. 7.50

Ramin Rezaeian

Ramin Rezaeian: As expected, he had to curtail his ventures on the flank due to the pace of the Japanese players. However, his defensive duties were conducted flawlessly. The few crosses that he made were not very fruitful. Solid defending. 7.55

Sardar Azmoun: A top performer, a constant menace for the Japanese, and unlucky that his marvelous goal was called offside by millimeters. His presence was immensely felt in the team. Always willing to run and tackle while doing defensive. duties Provided the assist to Mohammad Mohebbi who finished clinical into the far side of Suzuki’s goal. pass to Gholozadeh to score the disallowed goal after VAR review. Hit the post too. His contribution was helpful to the team but the injury was worrying. 8.5

Alireza Jahanbakhsh: The Captain of the team in the absence of Hajsafy. He stepped forward in the dying minute of the game to score a decisive penalty with cool and style. he was a solid performer during the game and supplemented the midfield well. Great fighting spirit. 8.15

Saeid Ezatolahi: A much better performance than the last few matches. His physical presence was an asset against Japan. He still needs to improve in his passing. Managed a strong shot on goal but lacked directional accuracy. Defensive duties from the midfield were fine with the support of Omid EBRAHIMI. 7.55

Saman Ghoddos: Another excellent performance from the midfielder. Was hardly intimidated by the packed Japanese midfield despite being closely marked. His movement and timely distribution were a delight to watch. defense aggressively and managed to intercept any balls from the opposition. Excellent all-round performance 8.35

Omid Ebrahimi: A surprise starter in the lineup but he rewarded the confidence of his coach with a worthy performance. A true fearless warrior who sabotaged many Japanese moves and distributions. Single-handedly battled two or three players at a time to steal the ball. An eye-catching performance from the evergreen midfielder 8.00

Milad Mohammadi: a competent replacement for Hajsafi in the left back post. As it turned out, he was ideal for the match against Japan matching their speed and power. Active throughout the game and hardly any ball passed him. Excellent in defense. 7.80

Mohammad Mohebbi : Very few expected the FC Rostov player to start the match, however, he was in the lineup and managed to score a brilliant goal for the team. His confidence, accuracy, and powerful shot ensured Team Melli returned to the match and boosted his confidence.  Played well alongside Azmoun but also drifted to confuse the Japanese defenders who seemed to focus on Azmoun most of the time 8.00

Ardeshir ‘Amir’ Ghalenoei: So much negativity around him and a lack of confidence from the Iranian fans in his appointment. However, he proved many of the naysayers wrong. Still undefeated after 15 games. It is true that he inherited this team and hardly made any changes, but that has translated into a solid team that only requires consistency rather than on and off days. His tactics and team selection against Japan proved that he has the caliber of a great coach. Benching the captain and a reliable defender seemed to be risky, but that is what it takes to produce winners. In public, Ghalenoei seemed to be the sulky type always moaning and complaining about something, but in the changing room, his halftime talk inspired the players and overturned the team’s fortune. 8.75