Tag: Palestine

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. 

AFC Asian Cup: Hong Kong midfielder Chan vows team will stick with fast-and-furious style for daunting Iran encounter

  • Hong Kong are expected to lose their second Group C game, but Philip Chan says there is no thought of damage limitation
  • Defender Oliver Gerbig says team ‘belong at this level’ following fine UAE showing

Paul McNamara

Philip Chan Siu-kwan said Hong Kong would go into their AFC Asian Cup clash with Iran on Friday bearing no ill effects from a controversial opening defeat by United Arab Emirates in Qatar.

And the midfielder, whose strike in Sunday’s 3-1 loss was the national team’s first in the tournament since 1968, was backed up by defender Oliver Gerbig, who said the result proved Hong Kong “belong at this level”.

Conventional wisdom suggests Hong Kong’s best option would be to try and limit the damage against Iran, with a view to pushing for victory over Palestine in their last Group C fixture on Monday.00:29

A win, coupled with a relatively healthy goal difference, could see them squeeze into the last 16 as one of the strongest third-placed finishers.

But Chan, a totem of Jorn Andersen’s fast-and-furious philosophy, said there was no temptation to ease off against the tournament’s second-highest-ranked team, who started their campaign with a 4-1 win over Palestine.

“It is going to be a very tough game, but look at our performance against UAE, there were no restraints,” Chan said. “There is no turning back now. We are going to challenge every team in the group stage, and try to get to the last-16.

“I know my teammates, and have no doubt we will not be mentally affected by anything that happened against UAE.

“We have made big improvements with the coach [Andersen], and done a really good job building this team. We used to be more conservative, but now we are trying to move forward, take shots on goal, and show the best of ourselves.”

Andersen identified Chan early as a player carved in his favoured aggressive mould. Of the 31-year-old’s 19 international appearances, 17 have come since the Norwegian took charge two years ago.

“I would not speak for myself, but whoever the coach picks, the minimum requirement is to be aggressive, and to not be conservative, which is a good thing in football,” Chan said. “We have to try to win in every game, and show we are capable of competing.”

Gerbig is the bolter in Andersen’s team. He was out of the squad as recently as September, and across four matches in the October and November international windows spent only one minute on the field.

Oliver Gerbig muscled his way into the Hong Kong team after impressive pre-tournament form. Photo: Xinhua

The 25-year-old impressed in a pre-tournament camp to the extent head coach Andersen called Gerbig “the winner from our preparations”.

Gerbig won his third cap against UAE, and, although the victim of a harsh first-half penalty decision, was solid in the heart of defence.

“I think we belong [at this level],” Gerbig said. “We wanted at least a point against UAE, but it was a positive performance. We put up a fight and showed we are not easy to play against. At 1-0 and 2-1 down, we said to keep believing and pushing. That is the mentality of this team; we keep going.

“We are improving and have shown we can play at this level, and that Hong Kong has good football players.”

Kitchee player Gerbig exemplified the “keep going” mantra when he was exiled from the national team squad.

“I put my head down, kept working and waited for my chance,” he said.

“I believed in my ability, but had to show it to the coach and earn his trust. The training camp was intense, with a lot of running. I worked on things the manager wants from his defenders, and my physicality and aggression improved.”

Ghalenoei game plan vs Hong Kong

After a convincing comfortable win in the first match for Team Melli against Palestine, Amir Ghalenoei opted to give his players a day off on Monday. The players were happy to take the off day to roam around the city of Doha to observe the majestic infrastructure and the modern shopping areas.

Ghalenoei and his coaching staff remained in the hotel planning for the next match vs Hong Kong that will be played on Friday. The concern about injuries has died down as it seems all the players on the injury list have recovered and can play if Ghalenoei wishes to use them. The head coach, however, is contemplating a change in the lineup to give the main players some rest while giving fringe players the chance thus spreading the workload amongst a maximum number of players in this long competition that needs fresh players, not over-worked or exhausted ones.

Hong Kong lost against UAE in its first match 1-3 with two penalties conceded. Despite that loss, Hong Kong looked quite good and managed to control the game at different periods. The team has improved in the last few seasons and with the naturalized players, there is flair and industry, and confidence is high. It is not a team that should be taken lightly by Iran despite the 4-0 drubbing the last time these two met in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Azadi.

There is no question of Ghalenoei putting a weakened team against Hong Kong as a win is essential. Players like Azmoun, Taremi, Ghoddos, and Jahanbakhsh are essential in the team lineup. Other players can be rested such as Saeid Ezatollahi who had a pretty bad match against Palestine and also suffered a trauma on his nose. A rest for that player will do both himself and the team a ton of good. Cheshmi or Ebrahimi would be the ideal options to replace Ezatollahi.

Mehdi Torabi, who was not even on the bench against Palestine, Ali Gholizadeh, and Mehdi Ghaeydi are good options to start as midfielders alongside Ghoddos.

There have been questions about the defense and conceding the goal has worried the local Iranian media. The Ezatollahi blunder has raised the question although it was an individual error from one player. The overall standard of defense was quite good against Palestine, however, a change of personalities would be beneficial. Some younger energy will do Team Melli a world of good.

Post-match analysis: Iran vs Palestine

Team Melli started the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 with a convincing win against what was thought to be a tricky fixture versus the resolute Palestine. The 4-1 scoreline could have been even better if the forwards finished their chances much better style.

Although Ghalenoei’s initial lineup surprised quite a few observers, it turned out to be quite a revelation. The team played well, their intricate passing was a mark of an organized team and the individual skills added a flavor to the overall performance. Ansarifard and Ghayedi, both bench players in the squad, started and scored goals. Sadegh Moharrami, another player who is not on top of the coach’s list as a starter, played a superb match both in defensive and offensive roles.

It was an excellent performance by the team, however, as always, there were the odd concerns. Saman Ghoddos was the maestro of the team. He is becoming increasingly a key player and his importance to the team is such that his absence will negatively affect the performance. A replacement player at his level cannot be found, as no other playmaker can match Saman’s ability. The closest is perhaps Ali Gholizadeh.

On the side of the midfield role, the defensive or holding midfielder is Saeid Ezzatollahi, a player who has failed to impress for many seasons. The only positive aspect about this player is his physique and work rate. His passing, positional awareness, and individual skills including dribbling are quite suspect. Today, he gifted Palestine with an assist while it was much easier for him, a tall player, to clear the ball instead of sending it sideways. That move was difficult to digest, thankfully Team Melli was 3 goals up by that time. Rouzbeh Cheshmi, is a much better choice for a holding midfielder, with Omid Ebrahimi, even at 37, supplementing that role.

The other concern is Mehdi Taremi. There is no doubt about the quality of the Porto striker and his importance to Team Melli. He has proven time and again that he is a prolific striker who can compete at the highest levels of international football. Yet, there is a marked weakness. Taremi needs ten chances to score one goal. His rate of conversion is quite poor. He really should have finished at least two chances to score today.

On a positive note, the match against Palestine, showed the rest of the teams in the AFC Asian Cup 2023, that any team that intends to lift the trophy, it has to go through Iran.

1. Ali Beiranvand: Confident and reliable as always. He could not be faulted much on the goal conceded, as the defense should have covered better. otherwise, he was not really tested [7.3]

3 Ehsan Hajisafi: There is a trace of some pace and skill loss and perhaps hesitancy in some duels, but he stood well against the attacks and was firm. Did not venture forward much. [7.2]

4 Shoja’a Khalilzadeh: A quality performance at both ends of the field. His goal was the icing on the cake as he finished like a seasoned striker. Unfortunately, he was substituted late in the first half after clashing against a Palestinian forward while clearing the ball. [8.0]

13 Hossein Kanani: Nothing major to fault in his performance except for the early yellow card when an opposition player dribbled him forcing him to commit a foul. [6.7]

2 Sadegh Moharrami : A brilliant performance by the right back, perhaps one of the best in a Team Melli jersey. Confident, skillful, pace, and timely tackles highlighted his performance. This was quite assuring for Ghalenoei. [8.0]

6 Saeid Ezatolahi: continues to be a disappointment in Team Melli jersey. His gift to the Palestine forward that resulted in the goal, slow thinking, and wrong or incompleted passes against a modest team will be more than a concern comes the stronger matches. [6.2]

18 Mehdi Ghayedi: A delightful performance from the little winger. He was a menace to the Palestinina defense and his dribbling ability is an asset to the team. He was a good selection by Ghalenoei to start the game. His marvelous goal from Jahanbakhsh’s assist speaks volumes about his ability to finish [8.1]

10 Karim Ansarifard: A Drem start for the seasoned Team Melli forward. Passing a century of games for Iran, Ansarifard is still going strong. His moves show how much has the European experience improved his performance. Excellent finish for the opening goal. [7.8]

9 Mehdi Taremi: It was not to be his day as Taremi ended the match empty-handed, with no goals or assists. There is so much expectation from the fans that an average performance by Mehdi is considered a bad performance and disappointing. He missed many chances that a striker of his caliber should finish in the net. Saying that his presence in the team is still effective and important. [7.2]

14 Saman Ghoddos: The MVP of the match. Ghoddos is becoming a key squad player. His vision, passing accuracy, dead balls, and energy are outstanding. Two assists for the day and a near-perfect performance. [8.9]

7 Ali Jahanbakhsh: A much better performance from him and a big improvement from previous outings. Jahanbakhsh provided a quality assist to Ghaedi but he was also active throughout the match. He was winning balls and tackling well. Hardly put a foot wrong even while being constantly harrassed and fouled by a rough Palestinian defense. [8.0]


19 Majid Hosseini: A fine replacement for Khalilzadeh late in the first half. He hardly had any difficulty containing the Palestinians’ attacks and combined well with Kanani in the center of defense. An assuring figure if Khalilzadeh could not make the next match. [7.5]

21 Mohammad Mohebi: Replaced Ghayedi but failed to replicate the performance of his hometown teammate in the second half. Sometimes he portrays a frustrating figure especially if he does not get the proper pass. Needs to address such frustrations on the field. [6.5]

20 Sardar Azmoun: Replaced Ansarifard in the second half and his impact was instantaneous. Scored from short range to make the score 4-1 for Iran. Despite some more chances between him and Taremi, the pair could not add to the scoreline, and the communication between them failed to click. Still, his presence alone up front is an asset to the team [7.8]

23 Ramin Rezaeian: not rated due to short time on the pitch
8 Omid Ebrahimi: not rated due to short time on the pitch

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.

AFC Asian Cup 2023: The contenders in action

On the third day of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, two contenders for the title will start their campaign under different conditions.

Japan and Iran the two top-ranked teams in Asia will start against Vietnam and Palestine respectively.

For the Japanese, who are everyone’s favorite to lift the trophy, it is a difficult start against a stubborn team in Vietnam, however, the odds of losing even a point are quite low as Japan is in top form in years.

Palestine is another tough team to beat. The goalkeeper and the defense line of Team Melli will have a comfortable shift but the midfield and the forward line will have to do all the work to break the stubborn Palestine defense. The 99th-ranked team in the FIFA Ranking can frustrate the Iranians as they have already done to a few teams before.

With Sardar Azmoun being a late joiner to the squad in Doha, he may start the match on the bench while Taremi will have Asadi or Moghanlou partnering him in the attack. Jahanbakhsh will occupy the right wing and Mohebbi will be pushing from behind the trio. Saman Ghoddos will be the maestro of the midfield. His performance is the key to the success of the team. Gholizadeh has a good chance of partnering with Ghoddos, while Ezatollahi will operate as the holding midfielder.

the status of Ramin Rezaeian’s injury is not clear yet. He would have been ideal for a match like this where the opposition packs its defenses in two layers.

The slight injury to Beiranvand is still a worry, but with Hosseini and Nizmand, there should not be any alarms as both are capable of covering for Ali Beiranvand in case he is unable to start.

Earlier in the day UAE meets Hong Kong in the same group at Khalifa International stadium

Iran-Palestine: Match preview

  • 24 hours to go for Team Melli’s first Match.
    * Palestine will not be easy prey.
    * Ghalenoei “We will play attacking football”

Iran and Palestine will start their campaign in the 18th AFC Asian Cup 2023 at Education City Stadium at 20:30 local time. In the pre-match Press Conference, both managers followed the standard narratives and claims about the importance of the match, with Ghalenoei considering it like a Final for Team Melli!

What is certain though, is Palestine will be playing a solid defensive game, perhaps like parking a double-decker in front of their goalkeeper. The responsibility is on Ghalenoei to form a plan to break this tactic which is now being followed by many weaker teams in front of more powerful opposition.

This gameplan by Palestine, with an eye on quick counterattacks on Iran’s goal might spring a surprise on the final result. The more the Palestinian team can hold on, the more difficult is the task for Iran and that includes the psychological pressure and fan’s reaction to a deadlock.

On the other hand, an early goal by Iran will make Team Melli play at a comfortable pace and dictate the match. On paper, Iran is a much stronger team in every sense. They have the experience, the pedigree, the quality, and have been playing some eye-catching football recently. They are undefeated in two years since losing to the USA in the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Palestine has not enjoyed much success at the international level and has been winless since they defeated Bahrain 2-1 in March 2023. Palestine played eight matches since and has failed to register a win, losing 5 times and drawing 3. In those 8 matches, they scored one goal only while failing to score in seven. This team has a big problem up front. On the other hand, they have a solid defense and one that has yet to crash against the might of Australia, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia.

So, expecting a goal ruch from Azmoun and Taremi, is easier said than done, hence the importance of an early goal.

Interestingly, they have two professional players who play in the Israel league. They have not featured as regulars as many other professionals occupy the starting lineup.

First time
This will be the first meeting between Iran and Palestine in the AFC Asian Cup; the last time Team Melli faced a team for the first time in the competition was on 12 January 2019 v Vietnam – scoring a 2-0 win.

Win target
Palestine is yet to register a victory in the AFC Asian Cup, having gone winless (D2 L4) in the 2015 and 2019 editions; this is their third appearance in the competition.

Iran are unbeaten in each of their last 20 group stage games (W15 D5) in the AFC Asian Cup; in fact, the last time they lost the opening game in the competition was a 1-2 loss to Iraq in 1996, having won the last six such games since then on the bounce. 

Terrific duo
No player recorded more touches in the opposition box in 2019 than Iran’s duo of Sardar Azmoun (42) and Mehdi Taremi (33); Palestine’s best player in this category in the previous edition was Mahmoud Wadi with six such touches. 

Sardar Azmoun has scored 49 goals for Team Melli. He needs just one more goal to equal Karim Bagheri who has 50 goals and is only second to the legendary Ali Daei in the list of the highest scorers of Team Melli.

AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 review

The draw for the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Asia organized by AFC was held hours ago in Doha, Qatar.

The Main football championship in Asia is delayed by over a year due to a combination of AFC short-sightedness and the unreliability of the Chinese authorities. China was supposed to hold its second AFC Asian Cup tournament after the successful one in 2004 but a series of events and circumstances surrounding COVID lockdown in China has meant that the most prestigious tournament of the continent was not going to be held in China. Qatar, as reliable as ever, and beaming from the fresh success of golding the biggest tournament in the World, FIFA World Cup 2022 came to the rescue.

Parviz Ghaleechkhani lifts the Asian Cup for the third time in Tehran 1976.


The draw ceremony was held with the coaches of all teams present. Amir Ghalenoei is experiencing his second presence in the AFC Asian Cup since his lone appearance in Malaysia back in 2007. Ghalenoei hops for a much more successful tournament this time to compensate for the bitter failure in Malaysia. Iran has failed to lift the trophy since it won it three times in a row in 1968, 1972, and 1976., Also present was the ever-familiar face of Carlos Queiroz who failed to lift the trophy with Iran in two attempts in 2015 Australia and 2019 UAE. This time the Portuguese coach will try with Qatar who are now the defending champions.

However, Ghalenoei’s mission is far from easy as his biggest challenge remains in dealing with an aging team left by Queiroz. Iran was the oldest team in the last World Cup.

In Group C, Iran is joined by familiar opponents in UAE, Hong Kong, and Palestine. This is on paper at least. one of the easiest groups of the Asian Cup for Iran in recent tournaments. None of the three teams have managed to defeat Iran in an official competition, although the UAE managed a win in Abudhabi in a friendly 26 years ago in September 1997.

UAE 18 14 3 1 26 4 +22
HONG KONG 6 6 0 0 14 1 13
PALESTINE 6 3 3 0 16 4 +12
  30 23 6 1 56 9 +47

Barring a disaster, there is little doubt that Team Melli will make it through to the knockout stages that Iran has always managed to qualify to expect in Japan back in 1992. The problem starts at later stages with stronger opposition. Iran will remain one of the top contenders for the title with Japan remaining the favorite, followed by Australia and South Korea.

Ali Parvin lifted Asian Cup in 1976 with Hassan Rowshan

Despite the games not starting until December, Ghalenoei might consider that as not adequate time to create a strong team that can challenge East Asians. Such is football nowadays, that preparation times for national teams are quite limited specifically for those national teams that have players playing abroad in Europe. There is no excuse for Team Melli as there are teams in worse conditions than them so that needs to be addressed and not to be used as an excuse. A major big challenge with Ghalenoei, however,  is the administration.

The FFIRI is not exactly a beacon of outstanding management nor is it even a proper organization ruled by processes and planning. It is run by a group of ill-qualified personnel placed there based on their allegiance rather than competency. and if Ghalenoei needs to get things done, there will have to be a lot of personal effort and sacrifices as this football federation is unreliable and incompetent as ever. Last time over, Ghalenoi was more frustrated with the organization than anything else which lead to his early resignation from his post after the quarter-final elimination in Kuala Lumpur in 2007. Perhaps, this time over, his diplomacy, experience, patience, and older wiser age will make him much more capable to handle the difficulties and hardships. Perhaps this coach after so many failed attempts by his predecessors,  can fulfill a mission that has eluded this soccer-mad nation for 47 years.

Team melli training camp in doubt as soon as it is announced.

Team Melli will hold its first training camp under the leadership of the Croatian head coach in mid-September.

The team faces three important challenges for holding camp with the availability of players, which can overshadow the camp objectives and Team Melli preparation.

Skocic has yet to have a single training session with Team Melli since Covid19 has upset football activities worldwide. The first schedule camp for Dragan Skocic will be overshadowed by more events as FIFA has just announced the postponement of the Qualifiers from October 2020 to yet unannounced dates in 2021.

The Croatian coach will have the opportunity to face the squad for the first time. Circumstances allowing, it will help the head coach to identify the players he needs for 4 crucial and decisive matches in the qualifying round of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

In this camp, the national team will have arranged two friendly matches, the first match against Uzbekistan will be held on September 9th. The national team will play another match before that, which, according to speculation and information in the Arabic-language media, will be played against either Syria or Palestine, but nothing is certain at this time.

However, two important issues have overshadowed the camp with all the player’s availabilities, which could be a problem for Skocic’s as he may not be able to hold his camp with all the players.

Corona and visa restrictions

Most of the Team Melli squad consists of professional players working outside Iran, mainly in Belgium, Portugal, Qatar, etc., and a few who are playing in Russia, England and Croatia. The hardship that faced Alireza Biranvand in his trip from Iran to Belgium is a bitter reminder, and this issue has raised concerns for most legionnaires that they may have difficulty returning back to their country of work.

Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, etc., provide a two-week quarantine for travelers to countries such as Iran to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For this reason, Iran, like the Iraqi national team, may restrict the participation of the legionnaires to prevent any problems and difficulties for those playing in foreign leagues. The availability of foreign-based players is of course overshadowed by their availability and release by their employers. With the Leagues scheduling in Europe in such a mess, it is highly unlikely if any player is released by their clubs unless they are of now value to their squad, like Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

The AFC Champions League commitment

The AFC Champions League league will start in Qatar with four Iranian representatives competing for the coveted prize. For this reason, these four clubs will keep their players and not release them for Team Melli. Iranian clubs have never won the AFC Champions League title since its new format and are not considered as title contenders this season either, but will be always trying to upset the rivals and be at full strength.

However, in recent days there have been reports that players’ passports have been submitted to the national team’s department for friendly matches with Uzbekistan in Tashkent. Given that the players will have to rest for a few days on their return from the camp in Uzbekistan, the possibility of the players’ absence from the four teams in the camp will be strengthened or at least they will remain with the national team for a shorter period.

Hazfi Cup.

The League Organization Committee announced that it is willing to postpone the final of the “Hazfi Cup” to a later date for the sake of  Team Melli Training Camp in Uzbekistan. However, the organizer’s condition is that there should be a firm decision on the dates and confirmation from Team Melli administrators before a conclusion is made. Hazfi Cup, which is becoming a real farce in Iran’s football with chaotic and ever-changing scheduling, was to be held mid-September.

With all these problems, Team Melli may not be able to hold the camp at all and with the recent postponement announcement by FIFA in regards to the qualifiers, the Team Melli camp might also be postponed, prolonging Skocic attempt to meet Team Melli players for another few months.

Disappointing draw against Palestine for Team Melli

In the match played in Doha Qatar, Team Melli played a 1 – 1 draw against Palestine. Iran scored first through Mehdi Taremi, while Palestine equalized in the added time at the end of the match.

While Team Melli controlled the game and had most of the ball possession , they did not seem to be able to score due to the profligate attackers mainly Medi Taremi. Palestine had their own chances as well and could have scored if it was not for Biranvand’s timely reactions.

The second half saw Taremi score early in the 50th minute but the rest of the match saw many chances going amiss . The perennial problem of Team Melli which is the final ball was at display again in this match as their finishing left a lot to be desired with inaccurate passes or shots.

Jonathan Cantillana, scored Palestine’s goal in the added time of the second half.

Team Melli will play a tougher opposition next in the shape of Qatar National Team.

The team line up

Alireza Beiranvand (Seyyed Hossein Hosseini  74″), Ramin Rezaeian, Pejman Montazeri (Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh – 46″), Hossein Kananazadegan, Milad Mohammadi, Roozbeh Cheshmi (Omid Ebrahimi – 70″), Ashkan Dejagah (Masoud Shojaei – 60″), Ahmad Noorollahi, Mehdi Torabi (Vouria Ghafouri – 60″), Sardar Azmoun(Ali Alipour – 60″), and Mehdi Taremi