Tag: Karim Ansarifard

Team Melli breezes past Palestine

Team Melli started its challenge for the AFC Asian Cup with a predicted win in front of 7,691 spectators against Palestine at Education City Stadium refereed by Abdul Rahman Al Jassim from Qatar. The match saw the observance of a one-minute silence for the victims of the Israeli-American attack on Gazza, which ended 4-1 for Iran. In the other game of Group C, the UAE won three to one against Hong Kong to get off to a good start.

Team Melli stormed in the lead as it took Karim Ansarifard just about a minute to open the scoring from a Saman Ghoddos assist.

Ten minutes later, Saman Ghoddos, sent a free kick to the far corner of Palestine where Shoja’a Khalilzadeh was lurking after he cleverly lost his marker. The center-back, met the ball finishing into the net to give Iran a 2-0 lead. With two early goals, Team Melli had comfortable time to pass the ball around. However, the Palestinian team embarked on a rough play and was lucky to escape with only six yellow cards by the end of the match.

In the 37th minute, the beautiful teamwork resulted in the third goal. Alireza Jahanbakhsh received the ball just outside of Palestine’s box. He then sent a weighted ball for the onrushing Mehdi Ghayedi on his left. The tiny winger made no mistake sending a powerful shot to the far right corner of the Palestinian keeper Rami Hamadah. 3-0 for Iran and still plenty of minutes until the end of the first half.

The rough game of the opponents resulted in its first casualty for Iran as Khalilzadeh, the scorer of the second goal had to leave the field after a wild tackle from the Palestinian player.

The final minutes of the half, saw quite a blunder by Saeed Ezatollahi on a free kick for Palestine. Instead of clearing the ball away, he headed it right in front of Palestine forward, Tamer Seyam who had the easy task of finishing it into the net of hapless Beiranvand. Ezatollahi’s gift was unexpected and it created the loudest cheer of the day in Education City.

In the second half, Azmoun and Mohebbi replaced Ansarifard and Ghayedi. So, all Team Melli scorers have left the field. The rough game of the Palestinians continued but that did not prevent Sardar from scoring Iran’s fourth and his 50th goal in an Iranian Jersey to equal Karim Bagheri’s record.

There were lots of missed opportunities by Team Melli while Beirnvand made a great save near the end of the second half. Mehdi Taremi was unfortunate not to score. He had many chances but could not make any count.

The excellent performance of Saman Ghoddos who had two assists in this game, earned him the Most Valuable Player of the match. Sadegh Moharrami was at his best and a delight to watch. Ramin Rezaeian played a few minutes and despite not creating any chances, he seemed to be fit for the coming matches. That is crucial for Team Melli.

Iran leads the table with 3 points ahead of UAE who beat Hong Kong 3-1, on goal difference. Team Melli will meet Hong Kong next to consolidate the lead.

Karim Ansarifard joins Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus

After a long dispute between AEK Athens and their Iranian forward, Karim Ansarifard finally settled for Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus. Ansarifard signed a two years contract yesterday with an option to extend for another year. Earlier on Tuesday, the Iranian center-forward was released by AEK, with the two sides deciding to end their partnership by mutual consent.

 Ansarifard departed to Cyprus while he had previously played for AEK Athens, Olympiakos, and Panionios in Greece.  The much-traveled player also played for Nottingham Forest (England), Osasuna (Spain), and Al Sailiya (Qatar)

 The Serbian head coach of AEK Athens, Vladan Milovic, who has a history of working with Ansarifard in AEK and Panionios, and has also coached the Cypriot Omonia team for a period, reacted to the transfer of the Iranian striker to Omonia and considered it a very positive event. Milovic said: “Karim is a footballer who is a team player and easily scores goals. He works for the team and is not one of those central strikers who only sees himself. in the field”
He added: “I worked with Ansarifard both in Panionios and AEK and we had good working relations. He is one of the best strikers I have coached.” Praising Ansarifard he stated: “He is a footballer with high experience and a lot of experience in big teams. Omonia was a very good choice. Karim will help a lot. He is an experienced footballer in his prime. With Karim on the field, the coach can play with all systems. He is a very smart kid.”
In the end, Milovic said: “Karim is a complete professional player. He is at the service of the team and always gives his life for the team both in training and in the game.”

Matias Almeida AEK current coach did not have him in his plans and decided to end the collaboration with him. Ansarifard had another year left on his contract with AEK and initially refused to leave.

Ansarifard played two seasons with AEK Athens playing  63 matches and scoring 17 goals, thirteen of which came in the first season 2021/22.

Omonia Nicosia is the most popular team in the island nation and has a passionate set of fans. Omonia is involved in UEFA Europa League this season and plays in a tough Group alongside Manchester United, Real Sociedad, and FC Sherief. Omonia will be hosting Manchester United in Nicosia on Oct, 6th.

Ansarifard struggles with AEK demanding his departure from club.

Karim Ansarifard, the Iranian striker of the Greek side,  AEK Athens, has created a situation that is leading to a confrontation with the Club. The Team Melli Captain has been placed on the surplus list of the Greek club, even though he has a contract with this team for one more season. Ansarifard has been on the surplus list since before the end of last season but has not yet chosen a new team.

Ansarifard would earn nearly half a million Euro according to his contract with AEK Athen, however, the club is unwilling to pay such a sum to a player who is out of favor and a benchwarmer. This issue has caused the surprise of the Greek media in addition to the anger of the AEK club. The betcosmos site stated that Karim Ansarifard is the hardest case of the players on the black list of AEK, and wrote: “AEK wants to get rid of the payment of half a million euros in the last year of Ansarifard’s contract. Since the beginning of the summer, this Iranian striker has been notified to find a team, but no progress has been made so far. What is surprising is the attitude of Ansarifard himself. We are in the year of the  FIFA World Cup and finding a team is the only hope of this striker to be in the national team of his country, but he is not entertaining any offers that come from inside and outside Greece.”


The article in this media adds: “Reports in Iran indicate that Persepolis made continuous offers to him, but his answer was always ben negative. It seems that he is not interested in playing in Iran. This Iranian striker attracted the interest of two clubs in Lamia and OFI, but it seems that Lamia got tired of waiting for him and strengthened their attack line with the purchase of Richmond Boaki. Staying in Athens seems to be the absolute priority of  Ansarifard. Here an important question arises for AEK. Will the club continue to pay a player exorbitant money to sit on the bench, or will they find another solution? Several Media outlets such as sportdog and sportime that have published this news claimed that AEK club is angry with their Iranian attacker’s attitude!

Ansarifard is married to a Greek lady and wants to remain in the Capital City.  A  big question mark is in front of Ansarifard in regards to his career in Team Melli. He has been a fringe player that makes cameo one or two appearances at the end of each game. He is way down the pecking in the forward line that is dominated by Azmoun and Taremi, as top picks. Players like Sayyadmanesh, Ghaedi,  Hosseinzadeh, and Alipour also make a strong case for inclusion in the Team Melli squad. However, it is not only his playing standard that has suffered as Ansarifard is one of those who started the rebellion against Dragan Skocic. His chances of making the 26 players’ squad for the FIFA World Cup are quite slim.


Team Melli is heating up within. The problems are far from over.

The publication of a statement by a group of Team Melli players headed by Mehdi Tarimi including Karim Ansarifard, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Ezatollahi, and Ehsan Haj Safi, in connection with the state of the football federation and the national team coach, prompted a sharp reaction by FFIRI through its spokesperson Hassan Kamranifar, the Secretary General of this federation.

“First of all, it is necessary to mention that the football federation is governed completely independently in accordance with international rules and its own charter. At no time this federation has received orders from anyone. There is no interference in the affairs of the federation.  An example of this issue was the rumors about attempts to change the coaching staff of Team Melli, at the end,  you all saw that only the federation management makes such decisions independent of outside elements. Although I don’t want to talk about the elections, I just would like to point out that there is no interference in these issues.”

The Secretary General of the FFIRI said: “We should appreciate the supporting role of the Parliament in approving and allocating government aid, especially for the purpose of supporting the national team and pursuing the rewards of the national team players. When the parliament support allocating government funds to the federations, we also consider it our duty to answer to the parliament in the field of how we spend government grants, this is not intervention, but a supervisory duty of the people’s representatives.”

Kamranifar was asked about an alleged demand by several Team Melli players asking that two Members of Parliament Ghazizadeh Hashemi and Pejmanfar, cease their interference in football. However, Kamranifar did not respond to this statement.

The issue revealed the extent of differences and divisions between Iranian national team players once again which prompted Kamranifar to respond strongly. The General Secretary of the Football Federation said: “The explicit demand of the Federation from the members of the national team is to observe professional ethics and not to interfere in other departments and take a stand on issues that are not within the player’s responsibility. Division and partisan in Team Melli is our red line and we will not tolerate it at all.”

Kamranifar added: “National team players may have concerns, some of them could be legitimate, but these issues should be discussed in their own place and between family members not going public. There is a process for that.  Some actions and behaviors are not acceptable.”

In the end, the Secretary-General said: “The explicit request of the Federation’s Board of Directors is to establish complete discipline and stability in the national team and to stand against any division, split, and marginalization. The federation will fully support the national team with all its might, and of course, we will take action to identify external divisive agents of whom we are fully aware and who are trying to get close to the national team with these measures.”



The disturbing part of this issue lies in the fact that a struggle is brewing among the members of Team Melli some of whom think that they are better equipped and qualified to run the federation and decide whom to appoint as Head Coach.  Led by Mehdi Taremi, a player who is notorious for lack of discipline and professional ethics, this group is making trouble by recruiting other players like Jahanbakhsh who is a key element in the squad and not the rebel type. FFIRI reaction says much about how much they are concerned hence the strong tone of Kamaranifar. However, besides the pseudo threats, there was nothing to deter the troublemaker.

Many feel that this Federation is standing  on weak ground at this period of time with a lack of legitimate leadership and the coming elections. Those who aim to sit at the top are non-commital to this serious issue. No one wants to take a stand just in case it is the wrong one therefore putting their election in jeopardy. No one is ready to make a decision against the rebels who are supported by outside elements including an influential football agent who would gain much by the change of the Head Coach with expected hefty commision. In the end, the more this conflict and division drag on, the worst it will become.

About the Federation’s independence, Kamaranifar lies up to his teeth. It is not even a secret that FFIRI is run by the government. Kamaranifar’s own admission that funds and grants are being received by the government proves it. The demand by the rebel players and FFIRI that the Parliament stops interfering in football sound quite unreasonable too. After all, the FFIRI and the Players are awarded funds from the public coffers from the money that can be spent on many other projects. What right have they to say to the Parliament “Shut up and Pay Up?”

An organization can only operate independently if it generates its own revenue and has a proper balance sheet. It is not the case with FFIRI which has always pleaded for handouts from the government and thereupon the government would have its own terms and condition. FFIRI and rightly so has to answer to people’s representatives for all the money that is being given to them freely. That is the rationale.

Sayyadmanish will not be in Tehran on time for Iraq match!

It seems that Team Melli will not be able to have any of its forward against Iraq.

Taremi is still at large waiting for a flight out of Turkey with hundreds of flights grounded due to severe weather, Sardar Azmoun out of the squad due to positive test result, and Karim Ansarifard still in transit not able to join, now it is announced that Allahyar Sayyadmanish does not have his passport and unable to travel to Tehran.

  Ahmad Noorullahi,, Majid Hosseini, and Ehsan HajSafi are also out due to PCR test positive results.

The absence of Allahyar Sayadmanesh, who is due to leave Fenerbahce for Hull City in England soon, is due to administrative work for a trip to England. Mojtaba Khorshidi, the Manager of the Iranian national team, said in this regard: “Sayyadmanesh announced that he does not have his passport because he is going to transfer to the English team and he will be unable to come to Tehran.”

As it is, the team is experiencing a serious depletion of its force with the main strikers out.

There are still a few good options for Dragan Skocic though, as Karim Ansarifard, should be available despite not taking part in any group training, Mehdi Ghaedi, Kaveh Rezaei, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh who can operate as a winger or central forward. Shahab Zahedi may also play his first match under the circumstances.

Positive cases 3 and more bad news for Team Melli ahead of the crucial qualifiers.

A number of legionnaires invited to Team Melli training camp and the subsequent matches versus Iraq and UAE have not yet been able to join their teammates at the team’s camp in Tehran.

Mojtaba Khorshidi said “the latest situation of the legionnaires is as follows: Mehdi Taremi is still stuck in that small town in Turkey due to snowfall and poor flight conditions, and it is not yet clear what time he will leave for Iran. Karim Ansarifard has also recently arrived in Dubai after changing his flight route from Turkey to the UAE.  Sardar Azmoun has not yet traveled from Paris to Dubai.”

The Manager of Team Melli in response to the fact that these legionnaires will not arrive in time at the national team camp said: “Even if they leave now as we speak, they will be absent from training because they need to follow the health protocols process as they will have to quarantine first until the corona test result is proved negative. After the negative tests can join the squad and start training. As a result, they will be absent from today’s (Wednesday) practice. Regarding Azmoun, Nourollahi and Hajsafi, they can join the team’s camp after their corona test is negative: ‌ You know that the course of contracting Omicron is 3 to 7 days. We have to see what happens in the coming days.”

Khorshidi also mentioned the situation of 13 players who have joined the national team yesterday: “The PCR test results of these players has not arrived yet. This will probably happen in the next two hours, and after the tests are negative, they can start training. :

The Manager of the national team commented on the addition of new players to the national team camp from the waiting list: “The coaching staff has not decided yet.”

According to ISNA, since yesterday, the PCR test of three key players of Team Melli has been positive. Nourollahi, Azmoun, and Hajsafi are the players who will be absent from this camp.

Only Kamal Kamiabinia has been added to the squad from the waiting list as a replacement for Nourollahi.

Team Melli will face Iraq in two days’ time in a match that could be the qualification prize for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Iran needs three points from the next two games to book its place to Doha, Qatar

Syria Match review: The most challenging is the enemy within

Team Melli players under Dragan Skocic, will be meeting Syria tomorrow with all eyes on the three points and widening the gap at the top of the table of Group A of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.

While on-field, this match like the rest of them in this group, is far from a forgone conclusion despite the fact that Syria is at the bottom of the table. It is going to be the same story for Team Melli. The object is to translate the superiority of the team into goals while keeping the defense tight.

However, the biggest battle for Team Melli seems to be occurring outside of the field of play and the enemy within. There seems to be an agenda to undermine the coach, Skocic. That enemy within, people working behind the curtains, have a systematic means of ruining the squad to serve their own interests. The target is Dragan Skocic.

The Croat has been criticized left, right, and center by many so-called Iranian football personalities who are perhaps blinded by self-interest or serving some agenda. These people conveniently ignore facts and figures such as playing 12 games, winning 11, and drawing 1 under the resume of Skocic, while denying the Croat coach any credit, by attributing the team’s immaculate results to individual players’ performance !!

Their objective is to force FFIRI to replace Skocic with one of their own.

Even a personality like Ali Daei, who is a living legend, has been dragged into this battle, In defense of Skocic-Taremi , Ali Daei who has been out of work in football since he left Saipa in 2019, took a side and supported Taremi but he also made some statements against Skocic which was indeed in poor taste and not appropriate for the character of Daei. Many other ex-footballers went on similar rhetorics.

Whether FFIRI will succumb to pressure to replace Skocic at some stage, is another tale for another day but suffice to say that the Croat has held his heads high, performed marvelously for Team Melli, and put Iran on the brink of qualification to the World Cup with a few games to spare.

On the field, Syria with a few key players missing will hardly deviate from their usual game plan. Tight defenses, pressure of opposition players, and hope of a goal on counterattacks. Heaven forbids if the Syrians score, as the repeat of the Lebanese Black Art of time-wasting, cheating, and faking injury, will be the tale of the day.

With Jahanbakhsh missing, Skocic will have several options available. He has Hajsafy, Torabi, and Sarlak as replacements. Last time out, Ghoddos was used from the start but it was a disappointing performance from the Brentford midfield player alongside Azmoun. Ansarifard or Rezaei are two options for Skocic while Ghoddos , if used again, would be operating behind the two strikers.

Goalkeeping was far from assuring against Lebanon. It will not be a great surprise if Beiranvand is benched and either Abedzadeh or Niazmand start instead.

The defense was solid and Vahid Amiri excelled in his left-back role.

Under the circumstances, Syria’s job to improve their record against Iran looks like a mammoth task, But football is a strange game, and surprises can happen. Skocic, however, is a Wiley coach and has prepared well for worst-case scenario.

Brilliant week for Team Melli legionnaires.

A total of six goals were scored by Team Melli players legionnaires this weekend. From Dubai to the east all the way west to Porto in Portugal, and North in Ukraine to south Europe in Greece, the Iranian players showed grit, skill, and most important abilities to score.

Mehdi Ghaedi the former Esteghlal, came in as a substitute for Shabab Al-Ahli and scored two goals including the last-second equalizer to set the stadium alight. It was a dream performance for the recently joined Ghaedi that has already started a trend in Dubai to compare him to their former hero Ali Karimi. The match ended Shabab Al-Ahli 4-2 Sharjah.

In Porto, another Bushehri player who has already established himself in the Portuguese league, also scored two goals for his club FC Porto in 5-0 drubbing of Moreirense. Mehdi Taremi scored his third goal of the new league with a chip over the opposition goalkeeper.

In Crete island, Karim Ansarifard scored what looked like the winner for his team AEK Athens away to OFI Crete, but the islanders score in the injury time for the match to end 3-3.

Ehsan Hajsafy also played in this match alongside Nasarifard, was the third Iranian player of the team, Milad Mohammadi was not registered for the match.

Allayhyar Sayyadmanish, the promising young Team Melli player who has been forgotten by the selectors, put a forceful claim to a place in Team Melli squad when he scored again for his club Zorya to beat Chornomorets 3 – 0. This was Sayyadmanish’s third goal of the season for Zorya.


With Azmoun still to play for Zenit on Monday evening against Kazan, it already looks like a piece of excellent news for the passionate Iranian fans and comes right after the Iran National Volleyball team managed to lift the Asian Championship after they beat host and nemesis Japan comprehensively in Japan.

With Team Melli preparing for the third and fourth match day for World Cup 2022 qualifiers, this is excellent news for the fans but particularly Dragan Skocic, the Team Melli head coach. Iran will play UAE away on the 7th of October followed by a hame game against South Korea in Azadi 5 days later.

Milad Mohammadi signs for AEK Athens

The Team Melli left-back, who has been in Athens since Wednesday, successfully completed the medical and ergometric examinations on Thursday, and after the completion of formalities, he headed to AEK Headquarters and signed his contract with the club.

Milad Mohammadi leaves Gent and knockeing on AEK Athens doors.

Milad Mohammadi, the left-back of Team Melli, who was playing for the  Belgian team  Gent, unexpectedly terminated his contract with the club and is currently a free agent without a team.

According to Greek media, Mohammadi has reached an agreement with AEK Athens and is on the verge of joining the team. Greece’s “sdna” website reported that Mohammadi had even been issued a plane ticket to travel to Greece for medicals and that the player would travel to Athens today to sign a contract and finalize the details of his transfer. According to this site, a few months ago, during the summer transfers window, AEK offered Gent a net amount of 700,000 Euros for the transfer of Milad Mohammadi in addition to some significant rewards for the Belgian club, but the player’s agent claimed that he had more suitors and believed Mohammadi will have better offers before the transfer windows close. This, whoever, did not materialize. Gent pressured Mohammadi to extend his contract, which expires in 2022, but the player refused and the Belgian club recruited another player.

Eventually, Gant and Mohammadi mutually agreed to terminate the contract. It was after that that the president of AEK Athens started his efforts to attract Mohammadi and this transfer is on the verge of being finalized. SDNA predicted that with the presence of Milad Mohammadi on the left side of the AEK defense, Ehsan Haj Safi’s position will change and the captain of the Iranian national team, being such a versatile player will occupy other posts. Karim Ansarifard is another Iranian player of the AEK team who can help Mohammadi familiarize and incorporate into this team sooner and faster.