Tag: Mehdi Ghaedi

Iran’s Victory in Ashgabat Secures AFC Asian Cup 2027 Berth

In an intense showdown, Team Melli clinched a crucial 1-0 victory over host nation Turkmenistan in Ashgabat. The lone goal, orchestrated by Mehdi Ghaedi, surged Iran ahead just before halftime, sealing their triumph.

Ghaedi’s decisive strike, facilitated by a well-timed assist, underscored Iran’s resilience and determination on the pitch. With this resounding win, Team Melli not only secured a coveted spot in the finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2027, set to take place in Saudi Arabia but also advanced to the third round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers, alongside Uzbekistan, who narrowly trails on goal difference.

Despite the triumph, the match itself was marked by a lack of fluidity, with both sides struggling to orchestrate cohesive moves. While Iran exhibited marginally better form, missed opportunities plagued their performance, epitomized by Ghaedi’s near miss in the first half from an open goal, courtesy of a precision pass from Taremi. Turkmenistan, on the other hand, failed to mount any significant offensive threats throughout the game.

The subpar quality of the artificial turf emerged as a significant impediment to the players’ performance, with several Iranian players sustaining lacerations on their legs during the course of the match. Critically, questions arose regarding FIFA’s decision to permit international fixtures on such hazardous surfaces, prompting concerns for player safety and well-being.

Despite the challenging conditions, Team Melli showcased their tactical prowess, primarily relying on long-ball strategies to penetrate the opposition’s defense. This approach yielded dividends in the form of Ghaedi’s pivotal goal, emanating from a strategic long pass by Hossein Kananizadega, deftly headed by Taremi to set up the decisive play.

Furthermore, the match witnessed the promising debut of Mohammad Ghorbani, who earned his first cap for the national team, signaling a bright future for Iranian football. Additionally, despite the promise of new players, Shoja Khalilzadeh and Ramin Rezaeian were both in the starting lineup and playing the full 90 minutes.

Team Melli sweats it to narrowly defeat Hong Kong!

Team Melli beat Hong Kong 1-0 in its second match of Group C of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The only goal of the match was scored by Mehdi Ghayedi in the 24th minute. With this win, Iran has 6 points and is leading the group ahead of UAE with 4 points. The group decider will be against the UAE where Team Mlli needs one point to maintain the top position in the group while the UAE has to win to lead Group C.

In one of the worst performances by Team Melli in recent times, the Ghalenoei team was weak in every aspect of the professional game. Be it the passing, mental agility, tactical discipline, tackling, man marking and agility.

Since Ghalenoei is the responsible person for selecting the players to start the match and for the game plan, it was a bad mark for the Head Coach who has yet to taste defeat since he took over more than a year ago. These days have an eerily remanence of his last time at the helm of Team Melli in 2006 to 2007 ., where the team was performing near perfection until he fell in the last hurdle against South Korea in the Penalty kicks at the quarter-final of the Asian Cup 2007. Most of the criticism back then was targeted at Ghalenoei as he was accused of failing to instill discipline in his team with players acting up in the penalty kicks amongst other shortfalls in the Asian Cup 2007.

In this match, the fans were expecting a bonanza of goals, or at least as many as the team scored against Palestine last time out. But instead, and from kick-off, it seemed that the engines of Team Melli lacked oiling, perhaps needing a major overhaul.

One positive aspect of Ghalenoei’s selection is the replacement of Ezatollahi with the much more versatile Cheshmi, despite a few initial errors at the beginning of the game by the Esteghlal holding midfielder. But most of the problems were in Saman Ghoddos who was the MVP of the last game, but in this one, he decided to have a day off! His passing, vision, and dynamism were truly lacking. There was no help from Jahanbakhsh either, Ghaedi was perhaps the only bright star of the whole team and his goal was a testament to his enterprise and energy.

Mehdi Taremi has not done anything to mitigate the fears of the fans who believe that he is not a man for big occasions. Taremi, regrettably, is looking like an amateur league player in Team Melli Jersey. He has yet to score or provide an assist in the last two matches. He seemed to be unaware of Shahriyar Moghanlou’s existence in the same team or maybe they were not on speaking terms. There was little passing and understanding between the two forwards. That in itself brings on the question of why Moghanlou if Azmoun is fit and ready.? Nothing of worth came from Jahanbakhsh either.

If that was bad, the worst line of the team was undoubtedly the defense line. How lucky Team Melli was in facing a team that could not shoot straight in Hong Kong? From the shakey Beiranvand to the clumsy Kanani, and wayward Mohammadi, to the disorganization and lack of understanding between the players in a systematic defense, all those were a recipe for disaster. Hong Kong, despite the gallant attempts, just lacked the quality to take advantage of all the gifts awarded to them by the benevolent Team Melli defense.

Iran’s defense is truly on shaky ground. They were supposed to have an easy day out supplementing the offensive line, but the reality is that they were quite lucky not to concede goals. That might not be the case next time or in the knockout stages where it is quite likely that defensive blunders will cost Team Melli dearly.

Ghalneoei himself did not fare well either. He was visibly angry on the bench and at times covering his face in embarrassment. If we have to go by the cliche about ‘Second Halves’ being the coach’s half, then the Norwegian Jorn Andersen beat Ghalenoei hands down. He skillfully reorganized his team in the second half, found the weakness of the Iran team, and tightened his central defense while exerting pressure on the flanks to prevent danger from Iranian wingers and half-backs., The only thing that he fell short of, as mentioned before, was the lack of finishers in his team in front of the Iran goal.

Hong Kong has to be credited for this performance.

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.

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.


Team Melli commences the training camp.

Team Melli started training camp as of today in preparation for the matches against Iraq and the UAE at the Olympic Hotel.

 On the first day of the camp, the players from the domestic league, along with Ahmad Nourollahi and Mehdi Ghaedi both members of Shabab Al-Ahli of Dubai, began with initially going through the strict health protocols and underwent PCR testing with the technical staff of the national team. The whole camp will be quarantined until the negative results them being part of the squad.  After the test results are confirmed, the teamwork will start and the rest of the players and legionnaires, according to the schedules, will introduce themselves to the technical staff this morning and will go to quarantine to find out the results of the tests.

The Squad will be holding two sessions of training on daily basis in two groups from 15:00 to 17:00. After the legionnaires’ tests are out and assumed to be negative, the first training of the national team will be held tomorrow with the presence of all the players. According to the rules and requirements of the Asian Football Confederation, in compliance with health protocols, the national team will train behind closed doors.

Dragan Skocic has named a list of 27  players for these two matches, although the regulation allows a squad of 23 players for the match. It is announced that no players will be sent home but a list of 23 players as required by the regulation will be announced for each of the two matches.

Shahab Zahedi, who plays for Zorya in  Ukraine has finally been selected for the first time. His recently departed teammate Allhtae Sayyadmanesh is also named in the squad. The list includes one legionnaire player who is under suspension by the Federation’s disciplinary committee the case of Hossein Kanani-Zadegan was charged with offenses not related to a match but to derogatory remarks he made,  which has gone viral on social media. When quizzed about this, a spokesperson for Team Melli said that “unless we receive specific instruction from the concerned department of the federation, any player can be selected for Team Melli.”

The squad welcomes back Mehdi Taremi, another player who was in trouble after he created unnecessary problems for himself and hence left out of Team Melli’s last two matches both of which Iran has won.

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.

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.

Team Melli complexion is changing rapidly.

After the transfer of Sepahan’s and Team Melli Captain Ehsan Hajsafi to AEK Athens, Iran has just five players playing in the domestic Persian Gulf league. That puts Iran among the group of countries whose majority of the national team players play abroad. These countries, including World Cup holder France and FIFA Top ranking team Belgium, have only a few footballers that are based at home.

With the conclusion of the 2020/21 season of the Persian Gulf League in which Persepolis won the title for the fifth time in a row, 3 significant transfers were confirmed. Hossein Kanani from Al Ahli of Qatar from Persepolis, Payam Niazmand to Portimonense of Portugal, and Ehsan Hajsafi to AEK Greece from Sepahan, the last 23-man squad of Team Melli home-based players reduced to five only,

Vahid Amiri,  Milad Sarlak, Ahmad Nourollahi, Mehdi Torabi (all Persepolis), and Mehdi Ghaedi (Esteghlal) are the only players present in the World Cup qualifiers who are based in Iran. As for the latter player, Mehdi Ghaedi, his suitors have increased since his brilliant performance in AFC Champions League. Farhad Majidi announced a while ago, that he will not stop Ghaedi from seeking his fortunes in other pastures to improve his standard, which means the possible transfer of the best current talent in Iranian football to a foreign club.

The full list of Team Melli with 19 players

Team Melli legionnaires also include the following players who were not part of the squad for the return legs of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, who could be possibly invited to the next stage of qualifiers. These 6 players are as follow

In total 25 (83%) players are legionnaires out of 30

It is quite possible that under these circumstances, Iran will probably not have any players from domestic league playing for the country in the national team for several years to come, and there will be no trace of the old superiority and total control of Team Melli squad by the to poles of Iran football, Esteghlal, and Persepolis.

Several years ago, at the time of the decline of the domestic leagues of France and Belgium, all the players of these two powerful national teams were players working outside the domestic leagues. It seems that no player from the Belgian league was in the Red Devils’ starting line-up at Euro 2020 this year, and that was the case in France before the re-emergence of Paris Saint-Germain in France as one of the top teams in Europe.

The standard of Iran’s domestic league has fallen quite badly in the last few years due to several factors. Total government hegemony on clubs, chronic incompetent management, nepotism, poor coaching, politics, lack of resources, favoritism, corruption, and exceptional indiscipline have all resulted in a league that is relegated in the AFC Asian ranking to mid tables.

Iranian clubs have never won the AFC Champions League and the last time a club from Iran won a trophy was back in 1990/91 when Esteghlal won the Asian Club Championship, the predecessor of Champions League.

Team Melli is on the march : Iran 10 – 0 Cambodia

Iran defeated Cambodia 10-0 in Group C of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Friday to ensure their qualification hopes are very much in their own hands.

The win took Iran to 15 points and with Iraq – who defeated Hong Kong later on Friday to stay two points ahead at the top – up next on the final day of the Asian Qualifiers, a win for Team Melli will mean finishing as group winners.

Cambodia, meanwhile, ended their campaign with just one point to their name from eight matches.

Iran head coach Dragan Skocic made six changes to the starting line-up that had defeated Bahrain 3-0 in their previous match, but there was no disruption to service as the Central Asians took a firm grip on the match.

Cambodia, however, showed early determination but suffered a setback in the 15th minute when Iran were awarded a penalty after defender Sor Rotana’s foul on Alireza Jahanbaksh (pictured below, right), with the Iran skipper converting the spot-kick.

Group C: Cambodia v IR Iran

Iran continued to press and were rewarded again with Shojae Khalizadeh rising highest to head home a corner kick in the 22nd minute before Mehdi Taremi (pictured below, left) got into the goalscoring action with a half-volley to make it 3-0 five minutes later.

Iran’s fourth goal came through Rotana deflecting Milad Mohammadi’s cross past custodian Keo Soksela in the 32nd minute, with the inside of the crossbar denying the Central Asians a fifth before the break as Saeid Ezatolahi’s penalty rebounded off the woodwork.

Cambodia v IR Iran (2)

Iran maintained a high tempo in the second half with Mohammadi etching his name on the scoresheet in the 57th minute, courtesy of Mehdi Ghayedi’s superb through pass, before Morteza Pouraliganji headed home a corner six minutes later.

Cambodia’s desperate defending led to another Iran penalty in the 77th minute, with Karim Ansarifard slotting home to make it 7-0.

Saeid Ezatolahi - Cambodia v IR Iran

There was no stopping Iran’s quest for goals, with Kaveh Rezaei becoming the seventh Team Melli player to find the back of the net after heading in Sadegh Moharammi’s cross in the 80th minute before Ghayedi displayed his dribbling talent in the box to beat Soksela from close range.

Rezaei bagged his second of the night in the 87th minute as Iran completed an emphatic win and set its sights on Iraq.