Iran: Nasser Ebrahimi (Iran)
UAE: Heshmat Mohajerani (Iran)
Doubtless, the very caliber of the Iranians will be lost on the television, most of all their cool, unruffled football that flowed from the gameâ€™s superior strategy â€“ off the ball running.
It was in fact the only reason for Iranâ€™s systematic destruction of the UAE, who came with the reputation of being the top scoring teams amongst the eight qualifiers but left the pitch last night wondering whether their 24 goals in four qualifying matches was a case of misinterpretation.
Too much was probably expected of the UAE and too little of the Iranians, whose last appearance at Kallang four years ago is still so fresh in the mind because of the same reason- Class.
This time , however , their professional-like composure lacked the one quality that made Ali Parvinâ€™s team definitive Iranian side- Total flair.
Still , there was enough in the form of their balding winger , Abdolali Changiz , whose cress-crossing runs down the left side dismantled the Emirates defense almost at will. When he limped off the park three minutes from time, UAE thought the danger had gone. How wrong they were as along came Reza Ahadi , who filled the vacuum immediately and engineered the third Iranian goal in the next minute.
Having come on as a substitute midfielder in the 66th minute, Reza Ahadi was pushed up to take Changizâ€™s place and within the space of a minute, his cross was converted into a goal by right winger Nasser Mohammadkhani.
Iranâ€™s first goal came by veteran Hamid Alidoosti in the 27th minute, was a case of poor defending when he intercepted a square pass and had only the goalkeeper to beat. Even the second goal, an 84th miutte penalty by Schemer Sharoukh Bayani was served on a silver platter when UAE skipper elbowed the darting Nasser from behind.
In the end, there was no chance for UAE to come from behind , not when forward Adnan Al Talyani kept on bungling from as near as five meters.
Man of the match: Abdolali Changiz (Iran)