Tag: Mehdi Taremi

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.

Taremi: “Iran’s infrastructure deficiency a hurdle to lifting titles”

Iran’s national football team, represented by Mehdi Taremi, the esteemed striker, voiced poignant reflections following their commanding 5-0 triumph over Turkmenistan. Taremi remarked, “We’ve lacked the necessary infrastructure to ascend to championship levels. Iranian football appears to be regressing.”

In the aftermath of their resounding victory, Taremi elaborated on the match’s dynamics, stating, “It was a highly satisfying game. Our performance reflected our ability to create numerous goal-scoring opportunities throughout both halves. We could have easily netted more goals, underscoring our determination to delight our fans.”
Expressing gratitude to the fervent supporters at Azadi Stadium, he added, “The unwavering support from our fans served as a driving force, spurring us to elevate our game.”

Responding to expectations regarding World Cup qualification and progression from the group stages, Taremi adopted a pragmatic outlook, remarking, “In football, especially at this level, nothing is guaranteed. The influx of new players adds complexity to our preparations, presenting formidable challenges. Qualification is a step-by-step process, and our focus remains on delivering our best performances in each game.”

Assuming the role of captain against Turkmenistan, Taremi underscored the team’s collective journey, stating, “We’re a cohesive unit, having embarked on this journey with Team Melli together. As elder statesmen within the team, we aim to foster unity and success, striving to bring joy to our supporters.”

Addressing the inclusion of young talents in the national squad, Taremi acknowledged the inevitable learning curve, noting, “Our young players possess immense potential, albeit with some inconsistencies in training, which is normal. The coaching staff meticulously selects players based on their capabilities, recognizing their potential contributions.”

Reflecting on past disappointments, particularly the AFC Asian Cup 2023 semi-final loss to Qatar, Taremi emphasized a forward-looking mentality, asserting, “I prefer not to dwell on past setbacks. Our focus is solely on upcoming challenges and striving for continuous improvement.”

Expressing gratitude for the robust fan turnout despite adverse weather conditions, Taremi acknowledged the competitive landscape in football, stating, “Today’s matches in the qualifying rounds of FIFA World Cup in Asia, demonstrated the unpredictability of football, even against perceived weaker opponents. We must consistently give our best effort, recognizing the evolving nature of the sport.”

Regarding facilities and support for Iranian football, Taremi highlighted existing shortcomings, stating, “Our facilities have not been conducive to achieving championship glory, contributing to lowered expectations. Sustainable success necessitates more than passion and resilience; it requires structured development, financial backing, and effective administration. We possess the potential; now, we require comprehensive solutions to propel Iranian football to greater heights.”

Why the shortfalls in Team Melli?

It was a difficult win for Team Melli against Syria. We have expected as much from a resolute team with a shrewd Argentine coach who has tons of experience at the international level. Syria performed as expected. Tight and compact defending with an eye on the counterattack against an aging and slow Iranian defense.  

That is exactly what happened in the match. Team Melli had difficulty breaking the Syrian defenses, and when they did, the finishing was poor. The surprise or more precisely, the disappointment was the performance deterioration of the senior players of Team Melli. While there was so much expected of the stars such as Taremi, Ghoddos, Rezaeian, and Azmoun, the return was less than desirable.

Nowadays, it seems that it is anyone’s guess which Team Melli will turn up at a match. They have been inconsistent varying from the embarrassing to excellent. On Wednesday, the match contained all the elements in 180 minutes of play.

It all started brightly and looked promising for Team Melli. The players distributed the ball elegantly, the passing was accurate so was the interplay, they managed to break the Syrian defense several times but poor final ball and finishing was a serious flaw in what was a good first half.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half, it was a repeat of the first until that penalty incident on the hour.

Slowly but surely, the performance deteriorated. Profligate, a touch of arrogance, and a lack of application marred Team Melli’s performance. When simple passing was much more productive than sending the ball across the field when standing your ground during a tackle is more beneficial than diving, and when covering an opponent seems to be basic and more important than going forward and leaving a wide space behind, those were the elementary errors committed by many of the Iranian players.

Beiranvand was the rescuer of the team when he saved a penalty, but he was guilty of a wild unnecessary tackle on the Syrian player during the game. Taremi is a well-known diver. It is his trademark and by doing so in front of an eagle-eyed Korean referee, he got himself into trouble and a yellow card. By the end of the regulation time, that cheating got quite expensive for Team Melli as his holding of the Syrian player to prevent a counterattack, got him the second yellow and was dismissed. Iran was down to 10 players for 10 minutes of added time and the whole of the extra time!

Azmoun looked like a player who was strange to international football. He could not make any of his shots on goal count. When he had the chance (s) it was feeble kicks straight at the Syrian keeper.

Ghoddos who is supposed to be the dynamo of the team was neutralized and failed to offer anything of significance. At times he was seen strolling in the park! Rezaeian, so pacey, so precise in his crosses was error-prone, inaccurate, and at times far too overhyped for nothing.

Khalilzadeh was gallant, but it was his mistake that led to the penalty by Beirnavand who tripped the Syrian Sabbagh.

Ezatollahi, always a weak link in Team Melli, was unconvincing in front of an opponent that lacked firepower. Time and again he lost positions and the one-to-one duels once again showing that this post requires a player several notches above what Ezatollahi is capable of providing. Jahanbakhsh was much better than his last few matches but still failed to make an impact.

Gholizadeh was a revelation but did not last long as the substitute was substituted. Ghalenoei needs to readdress such a futile move.

The fans and critics have the right to wonder, what was going on with Team Melli?

Factually, Iran had more than 70% of the ball in the first half. They were the dominant team, creating chance after chance but the finishing was weak and lacked accuracy and resolve. There is even a hint that the Iranian Players took the Syrians too lightly.

There comes the role of a strong Manager-Coach. Was the team ill-prepared for this match? Was the team’s physiological preparation adequate for such an important clash?

There is a hint from the post-match remarks that Ghaleneoi was less than happy with the player’s attitude and he specifically singled out the senior players without naming them. It was a breath of fresh air for an Iranian coach to spell the beans and criticize the performance of players when they failed to deliver. The usual narrative of “Our players were excellent”, “ it was only bad luck that we lost”, “The referee was against us”, and “the pitch was too rough and the sky was cloudy.” is such a tedious repetition and insult to fans intelligence that no person pays any attention too anymore.

Ghalneoei must be given some credit for that. He should be using the hair-dryer approach against any poorly performing player, even to the extent of benching them. It is about time that such elements be put down in their place.  

We must not forget the role of the local media in the complacency of Team Melli who have never failed to over-hype Team Melli and its players.  Such praises end up fueling players’ arrogance on and off the field. I have heard ridiculous claims on TV and read much such nonsense in the press glorifying Team Melli. The little true journalism that is published, the ones that truly reflect the status of the team is buried under the huge piles of praise and glory for Team Melli and derision and belittling of opponents. The biggest example was the CAFA league which exposed this mentality.

All that does not mean that Team Melli is bad, in fact, it is still a force to reckon with in Asia. Japan will be a great test of character for all involved. In two days, not much can be mended, however, a good serious talk and a few tactical adjustments will do a world of good for the squad. In Taremi’s absence, perhaps a major tactical change is required. This time, there is no fear of undermining the opponent as the players and the managers all know that they are facing a mighty team, admittedly better than Team Melli in many departments.

Iran qualify for the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2023

Team Melli defeated Syriain a cesarean style after a penalty shootout in Doha, this evening in the last match of Round 16 stage of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. The match ended 1-1 after extra time.

Team Melli was the much better side during the match and had over 70% of ball possession in the first half. Mehdi Taremi won a penalty in the 34th minute which he converted himself to score his third goal of the tournament.

However, despite the superiority in every department, the forwards wasted many chances to score. Taremi and Azmoun were guilty of some glaring misses. The second half was another. The turning point was right on the hour when a loose ball from the center towards Iran’s goal, was headed by Shoja’a Khalilzadeh right in the path of the Syrian winger Pablo Sabbagh in the 6-yard area. Beiranvand, rushing out to block Sabbagh, looked like he fouled him but the Korean referee called it a goal kick. VAR referee asked the the referee to review the footage after which he reversed his earlier decision and announced a penalty while awarding Beiranvand a yellow card for his reckless tackle.

Omer Khrbin easily dispatched the penalty to make it 1-1.

Team Melli’s profligacy continued after the Syrian equalizing goal as the players lost concentration. Mehdi Taremi was yellow-carded for one of his famous simulations in the Syrian penalty area. That card was to prove quite costly near the end of the match. Three other players got yellow-carded in that period.

The profligacy of Iranian players continued with many chances missed in front of the goal. Then came the final minute of the match during a Syrian counter-attack, where a Syrian winger, dribbled past the defense and was heading towards the goal. Mehdi Taremi grabbed the player and fouled him, giving the Korean referee no choice but to award Taremi the second yellow and subsequently, the Porto player got his marching order. Team Melli played 10 minutes of added time plus the 30 extra minutes with one man down.

Despite the extra man, Syrial hardly created any serious threats on Beiranvand’s goal, while Ansarifard and Mohebbi made life difficult for the Syrian backs and the Keeper in extra time.

In the penalty kicks, Alireza Beiranvand redeemed himself and saved a penalty while all the Iranian players scored theirs.

Iran will meet Japan in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2023.


K. Ansarifard 1 – 0 1 – 1 Pablo Sabbag
R. Rezaeian 2 – 1 2 – 1 Fahd Youssef X
O. Ebrahimi 3 – 1 3 – 2 Aiham Ousou
M. Torabi 4 – 2 4 – 3 Alaa Al Dali
E. Hajisafi 5 – 3

Taremi’s brace sinks the UAE

Al Rayyan: A Mehdi Taremi double earned Iran a 2-1 win over the United Arab Emirates in Group C of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ at Education City Stadium on Tuesday.

Taremi opened his Qatar 2023 account in the 25th minute, moving behind the Emirati defence to take advantage of an intelligent Sardar Azmoun pass before coolly slotting home.

Team Melli thought they had doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Ehsan Hajsafi’s whipped delivery from the left was headed home by Ali Gholizadeh, but following a VAR check, the goal was ruled out for offside.

Coach Amir Ghalenoei’s men started the second half the same way they finished the first and were within a whisker of doubling their lead when Azmoun pounced on a poor clearance on the edge of the Emirati area and hit on the half-volley, but his effort passed just wide.

It was the UAE who had the best chance of the early proceedings of the second period when Yahya Al Ghassani was brought down inside the box by Hossein Kanaani. Al Ghassani stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but his attempt was saved by an excellent diving save from Alireza Beiranvand.

Team Melli’s star duo Azmoun and Taremi combined again to make it 2-0 in the 65th minute when the AS Roma forward cut inside and fed his teammate with a well-weighted pass and Taremi emphatically converted into the roof of the net to double Team Melli’s advantage.

UAE goalkeeper was called upon to make a flying reflex save in the 73rd minute to deny Ramin Rezaeian’s curled free-kick from the left side.

Another VAR call had a goal from substitute Mohammad Mohebi overturned after the Iranian forward was deemed to have fouled Khalid Al Hashemi inside the box in the build-up before he struck the rebound home after Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s initial shot hit the crossbar.

Al Ghassani made up for his missed penalty kick with a decisive goal in added time of the second half as he broke free down the left, cutting inside on his right foot and finding the far corner with his finish to half the deficit.

Despite the defeat, the UAE join their opponents in the Round of 16 as Group C runners-up, edging out Palestine on goal difference after the Palestinians beat Hong Kong, China 3-0 in the simultaneous kick-off at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.

There was joy for Palestine though as they confirmed a first ever knockout stage appearance as one of the best four third-placed teams. 

MATCH PREVIEW: Iran v. Hong Kong

Doha: Head coach Amir Ghalenoei is expecting more of his Iran players when they take on Hong Kong, China in their second match of the AFC Asian Cup™ Qatar 2023 at Khalifa International Stadium on Friday.

Team Melli started their journey in style, putting four goals past Palestine from four different scorers as all of Karim Ansarifard, Shojae Khalilzadeh, Mehdi Ghayedi, and Sardar Azmoun contributed to the 4-1 victory on Sunday, but Ghalenoei insists his team still has more.

“The last match was difficult; we had to fight a lot and, in the process, picked up two injuries,” said the Iran boss.

“We have some injured players, and we could make 3-4 changes. When I said I was not satisfied with our performance in the previous match, it was because I know what my players are capable of. We are ready for the match tactically and we know our players are technically sound and very creative.

“We should think every match is a final and go step by step, so right now we are only thinking of Hong Kong. I am sure it will be a difficult game. Playing every three days and with injuries, we need to be wary.”

#AsianCup2023 | Group C : Islamic Republic Of Iran 4 - 1 Palestine

Team Melli enjoyed nearly 62% of the possession during their first game of the tournament, but Ghalenoei is more focused on how the team utilises that possession.

“[Pep] Guardiola brought ‘Tiki-Taka’ but he himself is changing; number of passes is not so important, it matters how many players you put out of play by each pass, the possession and how well you complete it. That is the priority for me.

“Every player has a specific responsibility at his club, but at the national team, their responsibilities are different. Mehdi Taremi might not have scored, but we gave him special duties, and he is performing very well.”

Hong Kong started their campaign with a 3-1 defeat to the United Arab Emirates but did enjoy a moment of happiness when Philip Chan scored their first AFC Asian Cup goal since 1968, also marking the 1,000th goal in the history of the competition.

The East Asian side have welcomed the return of veteran centre-back Helio from injury, providing a boost for head coach Jorn Andersen before the team’s clash against IR Iran on Friday.

Iran beats Burkina Faso in Kish Island.

Team Melli defeated the West-African team Burkina Faso 2-1 in a closely contested match on Friday evening in Kish Island in a full capacity Olympic Stadium.

The guest opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Saman Ghoddos was robbed in front of the Iran goal for Konate to beat the outstretched Beiranvand with a low powerful strike. Mehdi Taremi equalized in the 42nd minute after a scramble in front of Burkina Faso’s goal. Omid Ebrahimi scored Iran’s winner in the 71st minute as a result of another scramble inside the box.

It was a tale of two teams as Ghalenoei changed the entire 11 players that have started the match with a new team plus a couple more substitutions in the second half. Despite a slow start by Iranian players, the guest showed aggression and pace that managed to disturb the rhythm of Team Melli passing game. Like usual, the middle of the park was ineffective with Saeid Ezatolahi once again raising question marks about his standard and suitability to operate as a holding midfielder In Team Melli. Errors in passing and lacking accuracy has marred his performance in this half. While Ghoddos was less not as effective as usual in the role of playmaker. The two other midfielders cum-wingers Mohebbi and Jahanbakhash failed to make an impact on the match.

Despite those deficiencies, Team Melli managed to threaten their gusts several times, but a wasteful Taremi and Moghanlou squandered a few chances that could have made the second half more comfortable than it was.

The second half saw the entire team changed for the first time in the history of Team Melli matches. The introduction of Rouzbeh Cheshmi as a defensive midfielder replacing the lame Ezatolahi, in addition to Ali Gholizadeh and Omid Ebrahimi, refreshed the midfield while Khalilzadeh in defense and Haj Safi on the left back solidified the defense. However, neither Ansarifard nor Asadi replacing Moghanlou and Taremi in the second half made any significant impact up front.

At the final whistle of the Iraqi referee, Amir Ghaleneoi must have been quite relieved by the narrow win but less than comfortable to see how his team can be contained and easily outpaced by a pressing and aggressive team.

It seems that Alireza Beiranvand sustained an injury in the first half and his substitution was necessary. On the bench Beiranvand was treated with heavy ice pack on his knees. Rezaeian was not involved as he is still being treated and the coaching staff did not risk him for this match.

Iran will play Indonesia next in Doha in the final preparation game before starting its campaign in AFC Asian Cup vs Palestine.

Jahanbakhsh to leave Feyenoord

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, the Feyenoord and Team Melli winger, who has been suffering a form dip recently in his club is being put on the list of unwanted players. Jahanbakhsh also suffered a short-term injury followed by FIFA Day which put him away from the club commitments

The Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot has not been impressed by Janhanbksh this season, despite a promising start after his transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion of the English Premier League.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh is one of very few Iranians who play professional football in Europe, he is considered the third-best-rated Iranian legionnaire player after Taremi (Porto) and Azmoun (AS Roma). However, this player has failed to show any encouraging form both at the club and national levels for some time now. He has been disappointing at Team Melli games, and even more so regularly at Feyenoord. Lately, he has been a bench player for the Ervivisie club.

According to “MSN” the player has no place in the “Arne Slot” plans and will leave this team soon, most probably during the winter break in January. The article states: The contract of this Iranian player with Feyenoord is about to expire, and the managers and technical staff of this team are not willing to renew the contract with Jahanbakhsh, and soon this game will be close to the exit doors of Feyenoord. Jahanbakhsh’s contract was such that he could extend his contract for another season with the consent of the Ervivisie club managers, but they were not willing to do so. Jahanbakhsh arrived at Feyenoord in 2021 with a contract worth one million euros from Brighton, England, and last summer he received several offers from other teams, but he preferred to stay loyal to his contract with Feyenoord and had the dream of playing in the European Champions League. Now the adventure of this 30-year-old player in the Netherlands is about to end.


Mehdi Taremi
Sardar Azmoun
Alireza Jahanbkhsh
Saman Ghoddos
Ehsan Hajsafy
Milad Mohammadi

Uzbekistan Tashkent

A Tale of Two Halves: Uzbekistan vs Iran, FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers

  • The beautiful and unsightly face of Team Melli displayed in the match
  • An opportunity missed by Team Melli due to discipline failure
  • Srečko Katanec proves his quality in Tashkent

Team Melli drew a match in which they were 2 goals ahead against Uzbekistan in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier in Tashkent Melliy Stadim. The match ended 2-2 draw, Ramin Rezaeian scoring the first in the 14th minute, while Taremi scored the second in the 37th in a game that was a tale of two contrasting halves.

The first half was dominated by Iran, showcasing a level of football that Team Melli hadn’t displayed in a long time. The team’s intricate passing, solid defending, and tactical discipline were commendable. The midfield was masterfully controlled by the dynamo, Saman Ghoddos, who also provided the assist for Mehdi Taremi’s second goal. The overall free-flowing football was a delight to watch.

Two well-played goals, first by Rezaeian who received a master pass from Sardar Azmoun, and then followed by Taremi doubling the lead in the 37th minute. this time by a perfectly weighted ball from Saman Ghoddis who had lots of credit as he robbed the ball before sending it to Taremi who finished masterfully.

However, the second half painted a completely different picture. It was dominated by Uzbekistan, capitalizing on the disciplinary collapse of Team Melli. The turning point was arguably the injury to the schemer, Saman Ghoddos. His replacement, Ali Karimi, failed to replicate Ghoddos’ impact on the game. The tactical discipline, especially at the back, was missing from Iran’s gameplay, and the two goals conceded were due to defensive coverage failure. The slowness of the defense was quite evident in this half.

Uzbek coach Katenec read the hand of Iran’s Ghalenoei masterfully in the second half. Implementing a pressing tactic and empowering his team with pacy and more effective players, Uzbekistan managed to score twice to settle the game. The match served as a reminder of the unpredictability of football, where fortunes can change in the blink of an eye.

One unfortunate side of Team Melli that we have been used to for years is the discipline. Mehdi Taremi and Ramin Rezaeian were masters in simulation and fake falls to a laughable degree. In particular that dive by Taremi in the box in the first half. The referee opted not to award him a yellow card despite the fact that it was a bookable offense. Another comical fall by Rezaeian on the second was even more laughable! Ghalenoei has yet to enforce his gentlemanly type of football. This is the ugly face of Team Melli that no one wants to see. This team is good enough in many aspects without the need for cheating.

Iran leads the table with four points ahead of Uzbekistan on goal difference.

Oladghobad wins AFC Futsal Player of the Year 2023

Iran’s Moslem Oladghobad was confirmed as the AFC Futsal Player of the Year after guiding his nation to the Final of the AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022, where he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The 27-year-old player is currently playing in Spain with Palma in the Primera División de Futsal. He was a member of several major teams in Iran like Giti Pasand, Mes Sungun, and Alvand Crop before moving on to Spain.

In the annual AFC award ceremony for the best of players in several categories, Salem Al Dawsari of Saudi Arabia and Australian icon Samantha Kerr have clinched the prestigious AFC Player of the Year Award in the men’s and women’s categories respectively at the AFC Annual Awards Doha 2023 on Tuesday at the Qatar National Convention Centre’s Al Mayassa Theatre.

Mehdi Taremi was a candidate but fell short of the selection in the AFC Asian International Player of the Year: award which went to Bayern Munich and Korea Republic player, Kim Min-jae.

Iran also had a candidate for the AFC Asian Youth Player of the Year, who was Amin Hezbavi but the award went to the Japanese Kuryu Matsuki .