Coach : Amir GHALENOEI
Jalal Hosseini Goal Clip
Javad Kazemian Goal Clip
Substitute Javad Kazemian scored 13 minutes from time as Group C favourites Iran came from a goal down to beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in their opening match of the AFC Asian Cup at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Wednesday.
KUALA LUMPUR - Substitute Javad Kazemian scored 13 minutes from time as Group C favorites Iran came from a goal down to beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in their opening match of the AFC Asian Cup at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Wednesday.
The Uzbeks went in front through a Rahman Rezaei own goal after 15 minutes but Iran battled back after the break, levelling the score through Seyed Jalal Hosseini's 55th minute header before Kazemian sprinted clear to net the late winner.
The victory put the Iranians level on points with group leaders China, who hammered co-hosts Malaysia 5-1 on Tuesday.
Uzbekistan created the first chance of the match in the fifth minute as Timur Kapadze stole between two defenders to reach a Vitaliy Denisov cross, only to put his header straight at Iran goalkeeper Hassan Roudbarian.
Iran manufactured an opening of their own two minutes later when Ali Karimi's defence-splitting pass released Vahid Hashemian on the right side of the area, the Hannover 96 striker firing in a shot that was well stopped by Uzbek goalkeeper Pavel Bugalo.
Bugalo was called into action again two minutes later he rushed off his line to gather the ball at the feet of Hashemian as the Iranian forward cut into the area from the right flank.
Both sides were still settling into their stride when Uzbekistan took the lead following a calamitous error by Rezaei.
Chasing a hopeful long ball lofted forward by Denisov, the Livorno defender appeared to have the beating of Ulugbek Bakaev as he headed the ball back towards goal from the edge of the box.
But Roudbarian had strayed off his line and the ball looped over a helpless goalkeeper to hand Uzbekistan the lead.
The central Asian side nearly extended their lead eight minutes later when a free-kick from the right by skipper Server Djeparov found Kapadze, whose unchallenged header went agonisingly wide of Roudbarian's right post.
Two minutes before the break, a cross from the left by Hashemian found an unmarked Rassoul Khatibi, who headed wide from inside the area.
Kazemian came on at the break for Khatibi and the right winger's introduction helped to spur the Iranians to life as they levelled the score 10 minutes into the second half.
Iran skipper Mehdi Mahdavikia swung in a corner from the left and Hosseini rose majestically above the Uzbek defence to meet the ball with a downward header that just crept in at the far post.
Iran turned up the heat and went close to taking the lead five minutes after the hour mark when an excellent run and cut back by Kazemian was hacked clear by Aleksey Nikolaev just before reaching a lurking Javad Nekounam.
Nekounam would get another chance three minutes later as Kazemian made another fine run down the right flank and crossed for the Osasuna midfielder, who headed straight at Bugalo.
For all of Iran's pressure, it was the Uzbek's who nearly went back in front with 18 minutes remaining as Djeparov lofted the ball over the Iranian defence to Kapadze, who saw his effort stopped by the feet of the onrushing Roudbarian.
Iran netted the winning goal five minutes later as Teymourian's fine defence-splitting through ball released Kazemian, who drilled a low shot past the advancing Bugalo from just inside the area.
The game heated up in the closing minutes and Iran coach Amir Ghalanoei was sent-off from the bench with six minutes remaining by Kuwaiti referee Saad Kameel Al Fadhli after throwing a water bottle at the fourth official.