Tag: Ahmad Nourollahi

No place for Ahmad Nourollahi in Team Melli, unless…

Title: Amir Ghalenoei’s Firm Stand: Ahmad Nourollahi’s Omission from Team Melli

The AFC Asian Cup 2023 marked the absence of midfielder Ahmad Nourollahi, a notable exclusion from Team Melli’s roster. Despite his recent commendable performances with Al Wehda in the UAE Professional League, Nourollahi found himself sidelined under the helm of coach Amir Ghalenoei.

Nourollahi’s departure from the Team Melli camp during the match against Hong Kong in the preliminary stage of the 2026 World Cup was a breach of discipline that led to his exclusion from Ghalenoei’s final squad. Despite his continued success in the Emirates Club Football League post-Asian Cup, media inquiries persisted regarding his potential reinstatement into Team Melli.

However, Ghalenoei’s response to queries about Nourollahi’s return to the national team was met with a wry smile, indicating that complications still surrounded the midfielder’s potential comeback. The coach’s stance remained steadfast: Nourollahi would only be reconsidered if he publicly and officially apologized to the coaching staff for his actions, demonstrating a commitment to team discipline and cohesion.

Ghalenoei’s unwavering position on Nourollahi’s reinstatement deserves commendation, as it underscores the importance of maintaining discipline within the squad. With enough players already posing potential disciplinary issues, Ghalenoei’s decision serves as a reminder of the standards expected from Team Melli members both on and off the field.

Dragan Skocic’s fears and hopes

The Croatian coach’s survival and leading Team Melli in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is quite certain, but Skočić still has concerns.

Hamshahri newspaper, in an article about the current status of Team Melli, wrote: “The finalization of the friendly match against Canada on the morning of June 6th is a very good event; It is both technically useful for the national team and shows that the uncertainty of the football federation has not affected Team Melli after all. This game should be considered auspicious. Surely Dragan Skucic is happy too. The Croatian head coach of the national team felt the danger of being fired after the defeat against South Korea in the Nowruz ceremonial game, but now it seems that his position is steadfast and solid.

Even for some time after the World Cup draw, some saboteurs pushed the idea of a much higher profile world-class coach will is needed for Team Melli in Qatar instead of Skocic, but if there was a will to do so, it would seem futile and nothing more than feeble lobbying that found very little attention and consideration. . There are only six months left until the start of the World Cup, and the friendly matches of Team Melli are being fixed with Skocic. Therefore, the Croatian is relieved that he will lead the Iranian national team in Qatar and is focused on hard work.

However, that is not to say that Skočić is worry-Free at this stage, for the challenge is huge and far from simple. Is Canada enough? Many claimed that for various reasons, the game against Canada is a good and precious opportunity for the Iranian national team; Both their football is similar to USA’s and they are a good and strong team. Anyway, Canada managed to win four points from the United States in two games, and our game and theirs will surely benefit us. However,  just this one game to prepare for the biggest football show on the planet is not enough for Team Melli.

It is said that the rest of the package of friendly matches is supposed to be completed with the games against the likes of New Zealand and Albania, but these matches are not very useful. In fact, there is a concern that the federation will feel satisfied after arranging the game with Canada and will not leave much to be desired for the rest of the friendly matches. It is a pity if that is the case. Do not forget that we are playing against England, the most expensive national football team in the world at the moment. Wales or Scotland may be added to the Iran group and we need to play with a team that has such characteristics.

Which posts are missing?

Dragan Skocic, however, should also have concerns about some of the national team posts. For example, the right-back position is a very serious challenge. Skocic’s favorite choice for the post is Sadegh Moharrami who does not seem to be the fan’s favorite. Moharrami has long been lost in the club category. He has had a great performance at Dinamo Zagreb and even recently Branko Ivankovic criticized the club’s technical staff for benching the Iranian. The quality of Moharrami’s in Team Melli has been inconsistent. On the other hand, Ramin Rezaian returned to the Iranian league to show himself to Dragan Skoucic, but he was not very successful and failed to convince Team Meli selectors to include him in the squad. Rezaeian also has discipline issues. For Voria Ghafouri, his best years are behind him at this stage and almost done at the international level while Saleh Hardani lacks the experience that is required to help the Team in the World Cup.

If you have followed the Asian Champions League, you must have noticed the decline of Daniel Ismaili at that post.

Other positions of concern are defensive midfielders. Ahmed Noorullahi has not had an outstanding performance in the weaker team of Al-Ahly in the UAE League, while Saeed Ezzatullahi in the weaker team of Al-Gharafah in Qatar has only become in huge big margin defeats. Even recently, Milad Sarlak’s performance in Persepolis has had many critics. In general, Skocic should also be concerned about the decline of the Legionnaires. Alireza Biranvand, Ali Gholizadeh, Karim Ansarifard Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Ehsan Hajosafi, and some others have played very little these months.

Maybe the problem of some of these players will be solved by choosing a better team in the World Cup year. “In that case, we hope they will make an open-minded choice.” The reality is that Iranian Players do not easily integrate well n the western teams, the best problem being the language and work ethics. In the Iranian Domestic league, the way the players are developed and the relaxed and indisciplined attitude of the clubs, do not augur well for players to become legionnaires. Only a few percent of Iranians make it while most struggle and eventually return home.

Final training before UAE match

The final Team Melli’s training session before the game against the UAE was held at 15:30 Monday, at the No. 2 field of the National Football Center.

The training in the presence of the Iranian Minister of Youth and Sports and hordes of news photographers was conducted under strict health protocols. Social distancing with the media was strictly observed.

* Ahmad Nourollahi,  who missed the match against Iraq due to Corona, returned to training after his latest PCR Test was Negative.  He was the subject of attention by the photographers and members of the media.

* With Beiranvand’s absence, the head coach invited Akhbari as the third Team Melli keeper for the match against the UAE.

Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem, the president of FFIRI was hosting the minister and both had a friendly chat with the players and coaches before the start of training.

* The players warmed up at the beginning of the practice and then in single-player groups, they carried out one-on-one passes.

* The representative of the Asian Football Confederation attended the training of the Iranian national team and monitored all the training points and the presence of the media to ensure compliance with the health protocols.

* The media left the training ground after 40 minutes of training today according to AFC rules.


Ahmad Nourollahi is out of the camp and Mehdi Ghaedi to be PCR tested again.

On the first day of the training camp of Team Melli, the PCR test returned a positive result for Shabab Al-Ahli player, Ahmad Nourollahi which also prompted the medical team of Team Melli to retest his club teammate Mehdi Ghaedi.

Nourollahi was immediately replaced with Kamal Kamiabinia.

Meanwhile, Sardar Azmoun’s PCR test has not arrived from St. Petersburg, which has alarmed the Team Melli coaches. This means he will miss one day of training until his PCR test in Iran is conducted.

In a statement to Mehrnews, Mahmoud Reza Rezaei, the media director of the Iranian national team, confirmed the news about the Covid19 issues of the Iranian national team camp.

There are 5 players on the standby list for Team Melli.


A comfortable win for Iran keeps them at top of the table.

Team Melli defeated Syria 3 -0 in Amman in the first match of Group A’s return legs of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers. The goals were scored by Saradar Azmoun (33’),  Ehsan Hajsafi (42’)(P), and Ali Gholizadeh (89’).

With this win Iran consolidates its position at the top of the table with 16 points, opening a 10 points gap with the team in the third position UAE. Korea Rep. beat Iraq 3-0 in Doha to remain second with 14 points.

This match saw a much-improved performance from the Lebanon game 5 days ago. The changes that Skocic had to make on the lineup were sensible and effective. Beiranvand was given an off day in goal, while his deputy Abedzadeh was a very competent replacement despite not being really tested. His Aerial ball control was immaculate, but his ball distribution was quite impressive.

The midfield was more effective and distributed the ball efficiently feeding Azmoun and the flanks.  In defense, the introduction of Omid Nourafakan was satisfactory, while Sadegh Moharrami had a sterling performance.

Ahmad Nourallahi was one of Iran’s best players and it is pity that he was not on the scoresheet after several fine shoots especially near the ends of the match which the Syrian keeper remarkably saved.

Azmoun scored the opener with a marvelous assist from Vahid Amiri. Azmoun immaculate ball control, his escape from two Syrian markers, and the finishing touch was world-class.   Azmoun however, could have easily ended this match with a hat trick missing two golden opportunities in the second half.

Hajsafi made a start after some time with Team Melli, however, he has not lost any of his quality and scored well from the penalty.

The third goal by Gholizadeh was Messi-like. The Chareloi midfielder received the ball on the left and bamboozled four Syrian players before slotting the ball into the net. It was a great goal and one for the purists.

This was one of the matches that Team Melli won in performance and result. Players were disciplined and hardly made mistakes of judgment. It also helped that the Syrians came to play football and that made the match competitive and entertaining. However, the difference in class was evident from the start.

Although there were many candidates for MVP including Azmoun, Nourollahi, GHolizadeh, and Moharrami, The star of the match was Vahid Amiri. Not only did he provide a classy assist to Azmoun, his energy, runs on the flank, control of the ball, passing accuracy, and general attitude in the game were exemplary.

Late strikes secure Iran victory against Lebanon

Group A: Late strikes secure IR Iran victory against Lebanon
Saida: Stoppage time goals from Sardar Azmoun and Ahmad Nourollahi saved the Islamic Republic of Iran at Saida International Stadium on Thursday as Dragan Skocic’s side claimed a dramatic 2-1 win over Lebanon in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar 2022.
Azmoun showed his predatory instincts once again for his country as he cancelled out Soony Saad’s opportunistic first half opener before Nourollahi smashed home a low drive to earn the visitors all three points as the qualification campaign for Qatar 2022 reaches the halfway stage.
It was a remarkable escape for the five-time FIFA World Cup qualifiers, who remain on top of Group A as a result of win that broke the hearts of a Lebanese side that looked set to hold on for a historic victory.
The Iranians move on to 13 points and stay two clear of Korea Republic at the summit of Group A while Lebanon remain on five points from the first five games of the campaign.  The result, though, was a cruel blow for Ivan Hasek’s side, who put on a disciplined defensive performance that frustrated their visitors until deep into injury time.
IR Iran started the game on the front foot and seemed set to dominate when, with less than four minutes on the clock, Alireza Jahanbakhsh saw his shot was deflected wide for a corner after Vahid Amiri had danced through the Lebanese defence.

Goalkeeper Mostafa Matar had to be alert in the 28th minute when the Lebanese midfield stood off Jahanbakhsh as the PSV Eindhoven winger drove into the home half before unleashing a long-range effort that was tipped over the bar.

In the 37th minute, however, the hosts took an unlikely lead. Hasek’s side had made few incursions into the Iranian half but a cross from wide on the right touchline by Abbas Asi caught out a defence that expected the ball to sail out of play.
Instead, the strong wind from behind the Iranian goal held the ball up and Saad, the only player alert to the situation, controlled with a deft first touch before clipping a neat finish over a startled Alireza Beiranvand.
The Lebanese almost doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half when Beiranvand’s mishit clearance fell at the feet of Mohamad Haidar, but his attempt was deflected wide for the home side’s first corner of the game.
That was a rare sight of goal for a Lebanese side that started to drop deeper as the second period wore on.
Azmoun looked set to equalise as the half approached the midway point only for Matar to push the Zenit St Petersburg man’s right-foot shot over the bar while Ali Gholizadeh squandered another opening 12 minutes from time.
Azmoun, though, finally broke through in the first minute of added time with a trademark finish from inside the area as the pressure finally paid off and, four minutes later, Nourollahi smashed his drive home from the edge of the area to cap a remarkable comeback for Skocic’s team.

A dramatic win for Team Melli against Black Artists Lebanon.

Team Melli bagged all the 3 points after being behind since the first half when Lebanon scored a freak goal by Soony Saad (37′). Two last minutes goals in injury time of the match by Sardar Azmoun (90+1′) and Ahmad Nourollahi (90+5′) settled the match for Iran and maintained its lead on the top of the table at the halfway stage of FIFA World Cup Qatar 200 qualifiers of Group A.

While Team Melli started the match positively despite the bad conditions of the field and the grass which was more suitable for grazing than playing a decent football match, that superiority in possession and passing was thwarted time after time by the Lebanese solid defense.

As expected, Lebanon defended en mass and was quite disciplined in the back, breaking most of the Iranian attacks and protecting their goalkeeper well. Iran had 10 corner kicks in the first half but could not create any threat on Lebanon keeper Mostafa Matar who was quite dominant on the aerial balls.

From the first attack by Lebanon on the 37th minute, a right flank cross which seemed to be going out but somehow pushed by the wind within the field of play deceived Beiranvand who was raising his hand and watching the linesman instead of the ball that was floating right above him. The ball landed inside the box and in the front of the advancing Lebanon forward Soony Saad who cleverly controlled and wrong-footed Beiranvand with a shoot up the roof of the goal.

It was a schoolboy error by Beiranvand who had nothing to do all that time. While two other defenders close to Saad were at fault as there were also caught napping.

The first half ended 1-0 to the home team. Starting the second half Iran continued its assault on the Lebanese, who at times were packing the box with 10 players. In desperation and looking for the equalizer, much of the shoots were missing the target or hitting the Lebanese defensive wall. Only Sardar Azmoun’s terrific volley managed to penetrate that wall for Mostafa Matar to make an excellent save.

Lebanon’s famous black art was at its best in the second half, grass rolling, simulation, and with every contact. falling on the ground, even when the referee whistled a foul against them.  Skocic had to act to strengthen the offensive capabilities while withdrawing Saman Ghoddos and Ezatollahi who were both disappointing in the middle of the park. Milad Mohammadi and Sayyadmanesh were the replacements but their contributions made little impact.

While the match was in the first minute of the injury time, Azmoun received a ball in the box reflected from a Lebanese defender, with skill and mastery, he slotted the ball into the net to score the equalizer. The host team was gutted after what they thought will be a famous win, however, Team Melii was not finished. In the remaining minutes of the 5 extra, the onslaught was total, until Ahmad Nourallhi got the winner at the last touch of the match.

It was a deserved win against a stubborn, well-disciplined defensive team. The quality of the teams, however, was clear and it told at the end.


There is no denying that Lebanon has the right to choose any tactics or styles that suit the player and the coach. Obviously, they realized their limitation and capabilities and opted to build walls around their keeper.

Defensive tactics, while not particularly attractive to many fans, are legitimate and are part and parcel of football.

However, Lebanon and many other countries of the region, have gone beyond defensive tactics football and encroaches into the boundary of Black Art where gamesmanship trickery, deception, and simulation have replaced decency, honesty, and genuine hard work. Their Dark Art of time-wasting, faking injuries, grass rolling, and cheating was obvious for all who watched this match. To turn a match into ugliness and a farce, all that is needed is a sucker referee like today (Abdulrahman Al Jassim). The Qatari referee blatantly failed to observe how the Lebanese are acting and restoring to delaying tactics by faking an injury. There was plenty of such unlawful gamesmanship that the referee simply, In fact, he aided and abated this Ugly football by stopping the match for every tackle that the Lebanese players dropped on the floor!!!

It is quite surprising that very few talks about the Dark Art in Asian football. The media in South Korea briefly touched on the subject for the Lebanese to cry foul and claim discrimination.

There has to be a campaign against it. FIFA is responsible and should act as it did against the Egyptian team in the 1990 World Cup by introducing the law that prevented Keepers from handling the ball back from their players.

Something has to be publicized about Lebanon and the dark art of football.

a team like Lebanon does not deserve to be in the World Cup, using such Dark Art, spoiling the taste of the beautiful game at its most important event. They give the beautiful game of football

Third round matches heating up

The UAE vs. IRAN

Team Melli is expected to be at full strength meeting their host UAE in tomorrow’s match at Zabeel Stadium in Dubai.

There are no reported absentees as the squad is now complete with the arrival of the European-based players. The UAE is also playing with full strength however, all is not too well in the camp.

In Thursday’s match, Ahmad Nourollahi who played in the UAE club, Shabab Al-Ahli is singled out as the player who has the most to prove. Unlike his clubmate Mehdi Ghaedi, the former Persepolis midfielder and a player who is in the high regard of Dragan Skocic and has been a key player in the success of h Team Melli, in his club he has been at the receiving ends of many criticisms and often substituted. Perhaps Nourollahi can see what his critics have been missing in tomorrow’s game.

Barring any last-minute injuries, Dragan Skočić is expected to stick to the tried and trusted with a similar lineup as the last two matches.

There have been some debates and unsatisfaction with the performance of half-backs, where Milad Mohammadi, Vahid Amiri, Saleh Hardani, Sadegh Moharrami, and Aref Agasi have been given minutes in the two games but not to the full satisfaction of the head coach. It is quite possible that the team Captain Ehsan Hajsafy will occupy the left-back position in Thursday’s match while Sadegh Moharrami might get the call for the right side.

Both Khalizadeh and Kananizadegan will be used again in the central defense with Azmoun and Taremi being once again paired in the forward line.

The goalkeeper position is still firmly in the hands of Alireza Beiranvand who was perhaps the most comfortable match in the last game versus Iraq. While the midfield formation could be Saman Ghoddos, Ahmad Nourollahi, Vahid Amiri, Saed Ezatollahi.

In the UAE camp. all is not so well with the fans demanding the dismissal of Dutch coach Van Marwijk. The fans along with many critics in UAE accuse the coach of negativity in managing the team and his cautions game plan. Critics have accused him of playing the wrong formation against Lebanon while failing to benefit from the bench in the two matches,

in addition to the team’s failure to adequately prepare for the qualifiers, which was put under scrutiny. Van Marwijk was satisfied with one week of external training, including two days, travel back and forth, and his insistence not to play friendly matches to prepare the players. The coach was satisfied with the first two rounds of the league, which he found adequate for the formation of the national squad.

During the two UAE matches, it seemed that the team lacked offensive effectiveness, especially with many easy opportunities wasted in front of the opponents’ goal. One of the TV punters in the UAE local station was former UAE international player Abdel Rahman Mohamed. Now an analyst, he expressed his anger against the team’s administration and head coach

” I am against Van Marwijk. He is not the man of touch competitions and he will not be able to take this team to the finals”

Korea Rep vs. Syria

The Syrians have a different problem in Seoul as the Syrian Football Association announced the absence of midfielders Muhammad Othman and Ayaz Othman from the team’s squad for its match against the South Korean counterpart, scheduled for Thursday. The Federation indicated in a statement that the absence of Muhammad Othman, a professional in Dutch Sparta Rotterdam, and Ayaz Othman who plays for the Greek club PAE Ionikos, were denied boarding the flight because neither had a valid visa in their European passports, despite the Korean embassy in Beirut and the UAE confirming that there is no need to issue a visa to them on their European passport.

Iraq vs. Lebanon

Meanwhile, Iraq’s national team  Dutch coach Dick Advocaat, called upon the Al-Shorta striker, Mohammed Daoud, to join the Iraqi squad that will meet its Lebanese counterpart on Thursday. Daoud is a late replacement for Iraq’s top striker Muhannad Ali, who suffered a severe injury during a match in the Greek League. The injury suffered by Muhannad Ali who plays for Aris Thessaloniki means he will miss both the matches against Lebanon in the third round and against UAE in the fourth round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

Mohammad Mohebbi to Santa Clara

The flight of Iranian players to pastures new continues. This time, Sepahan and Team Melli midfielder Mohammad Mohebbi has joined the Portuguese first division team, Santa Clara in a swap deal. The Azores-based club has swapped their current Iranian asset, Shahriyar Moghanlo for Mohammad Mohebbi.

The Azores logo had already officially announced the deal, with the Iranian player, declaring that the two parties had agreed to a contract valid for the next three seasons, that is, until 2024.

Also, according to the statement issued by Santa Clara, the other Iranian involved in this deal, Shahryar Muganlo – the striker who, in the first half of last season, played in 13 matches for the island’s team, and scored a goal – will be transferred to the old Mohebbi team, Sepahan Esfahan. There does not seem to be any cash involved in this deal as it seems as a straight swap between the two clubs with Sepahan getting Moghanlo who was on loan to Persepolis last season.

Mohebbi is a versatile player who can fill the role of a forward upfront, midfield, or winger and such versatility will surely satisfy the Azurian coach. In the past two seasons, Mohebbiscored with Sepahan nine goals in 41 matches.

Upon his arrival in the Azores, Mohamed Mohebbi expressed his joy on the occasion of signing for the islanders. “I am very happy being here and looking forward to playing in a  European League. I will do my best to leave my mark on Santa Clara,” said the Iranian, in comments carried by communication channels in the Azores.

Recently Kanaanizadegan, Nourollahi, Ghaedi, Hajsafy, and Naderi have all left their Iranian clubs to play abroad.

Mehdi Ghaedi is heading to Dubai.

According to the Abu Dhabi Sports Network, Mehdi Ghaedi, Esteghlal, and Team Melli forward has signed with Shabab Al-Ahli club of Dubai.

While there is a lack of official and definite confirmation, it seems that Abu Dhabi Sports Network reported TV show “Al Share Al Riyadhi” which previously broke the news of Ahmad Nourollahi’s transfer, has come up with yet another exclusive this time with the breaking of the news of Ghaedi joining Shabab Al-Ahli.

Esteghlal CEO Ahmad Madadi had traveled to the UAE a few days ago for final negotiations with Shabab Al-Ahli officials, but some Emirati media outlets had reported that Esteghlal’s condition for selling Ghaedi was his availability for the Quarter Final match of AFC Champions League game against Al-Hilal, after which Ghadei will be released to Shabab Al-Ahli.

It is said that Esteghlal Club will receive more than $ 2 million by selling Ghaedi. Previously, Persepolis midfielder Ahmad Nourollahi had joined Shabab Al-Ahli.

Shabab Al-Ahli is one of the most successful clubs in the UAE and plays in  ADNOC Pro League. UAE’s premier division. In 2017, the Dubai CSC and Al Shabab merged within Al Ahli FC making Shabab Al Ahli FC. This club has a long track record of acquiring the services of Iranian players from the 70’s. Players such as Hassan Nazari, Hassan Rowshan, Ali Karimi, Javad Kazemian, Milad Meydavoudi, and Mehrzad Madanchi have played for Al-Ahli.

The club belongs to Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Emirates of Dubai, and is practically run by his children.