Tag: Sardar Azamoun

Iran v Turkmenistan: Head2Head

Team Melli is gearing up to face Turkmenistan on Thursday, coinciding with Nowrooz, in the second round of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers. The objective is clear: to fortify their position atop Group E and secure an early ticket to the third round of qualifiers.

On paper, Iran’s football prowess dwarfs that of Turkmenistan’s. The FIFA rankings and various metrics underline Iran’s superiority over its northeastern counterpart. However, when it comes to on-field clashes, Turkmenistan proves to be a formidable opponent for Team Melli.

Out of the eight encounters between the two teams, Iran has managed to clinch victory only thrice while suffering defeat twice. Notably, these matches have seldom seen significant score gaps, indicating the competitive edge that Turkmenistan brings to the field.

Turkmenistan’s enigmatic status as one of the world’s most secretive nations, governed by an autocratic leader fond of ostentatious displays, adds an aura of intimidation. This could partially explain Iran’s relatively modest performances on Turkmen soil, although such factors hold no sway in matches played on neutral or Iranian turf.

Despite Turkmenistan’s underwhelming performance, and failing to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar, they remain a puzzle for Team Melli. Their inability to dominate a lower-ranked opponent raises questions, especially considering Iran’s football pedigree.


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As the upcoming match unfolds at the Azadi Stadium, Team Melli stands as the undeniable favorite, despite the disappointment of their defeat in the AFC Asian Cup semi-finals against Qatar. With the home advantage and a thirst for redemption, Iran is poised for victory with a comfortable margin. Among those eager to make their mark is Sardar Azmoun, an Iranian Turkmen renowned for his knack of finding the net against Turkmenistan.

In conclusion, while Turkmenistan presents a challenge, Team Melli’s determination and talent are primed to secure a convincing win, propelling them closer to their World Cup aspirations.


TEAMFIFA RankingAFC RankingHighest RankLowest Rank

Match Data

H / A / NMatchesWDLGoals+ / –
Home43017 – 4+3
Away30212 – 3-1
Nneutral10101 – 1+0
Total833210 – 8+2

List of Matches

DateCompetetionH / A / NscoreStadiumResult Attendance
12.Nov.2015CompetitionH3 – 1Azadi Stadium, TehranW35,800
16.Jun.2015World Cup Qualifier / Round 2 – GROUP DA1 – 1Garaşsyzlyk Stadium , DashoguzD10,000
25.Nov.1996Friendly H0 – 1Azadi Stadium, TehranL15,000
28.Apr.1996Friendly A0 – 1Ashgabat Stadium, AshgabatL30,000
26.Apr1996Friendly A1 – 1Ashgabat Stadium, AshgabatD10,000
05. Oct.1994Asian Games N1 – 1Bingo Athletic Stadium, OnomichiD7,000
14.Jun.1993ACO CupH2 – 1Azadi Stadium, TehranW1,5000
25. Nov.1996ACO CupH2 – 1Azadi Stadium, TehranW15,000

Team Melli players in European Club competitions

The European Clubs championships will start in earnest this evening with matches in the UEFA Champions League UCL on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the Europa League which is traditionally played on Thursdays.

6 Team Melli players will be involved in the European club competitions this season. Mehdi Taremi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Sadegh Moharrami, Sardar Azamoun, Ehsan Hajsafi and Milad Mohammadi. We will look at the individual players’ performances in the early season, their effectiveness for their clubs, chances of playing, and chances of their club qualification to the next round. The three competitions they are involved in are the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League.

Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto): presently he is without a doubt the most prominent amongst the Team Melli legionnaires possessing the highest value for his club. Being a key player with Porto and a title defender, there are a lot of expectations from Taremi. Despite some off-the-field distractions, that might have affected him, he returned back to what he does best by scoring the winning goal away to Estrela da Amadora last weekend. This season, Taremi started 4 out of 5 club matches.

FC Porto is in Group H which has the mighty Barcelona as the favorite, but also the Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk and Belgian Royal Antwerp. It is a tough group but Porto remains in contention for one of the two qualifying places.

Playing Status: Starter
Effectiveness: 8.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 70%

Alireza Jahanbaksh (Feyenoord): The Team Melli Captain is not experiencing the best of times. His form has dipped considerably and he is now glued to the bench in the Eredivisie with Feyenoord. He played in two out of 5 league matches with only one starting and one as a substitute. Jahanbaksh neither scored nor provided any assists this season.

Feyenoord is in Group E of the UEFA Champions League along with favorites Atletico Madrid, Celtic, and Lazio, It is an even group but hardly an easy pass for Feyenoord, which will start with a match against the Scottish Champions Celtic on Tuesday 19th September.

Playing Status: Substitute
Effectiveness: 3.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 68%

Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb): The Team Melli right-back has been having a good season with the Croatian champions. His rating has been amongst the best and also provided one assist in the 5 matches he has already played for the club.

In the Europa Conference League, Dinamo Zagreb is in Group C along with; Balkani (Kosovo), FC Astana (Kazakhstan), and Viktoria Plzen (Czechia). The former is the closest rival to Dinamo Zagreb. The first match is on Thursday 21st September.

Playing Status: Starter
Effectiveness: 7.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 80%

Sardar Azmoun (Roma): After a shaky season with Bayer Leverkusen marred by long-term injuries, Azmoun is now on loan with AS Roma coached by Mourinho. Team Melli striker will not enjoy the UEFA Champions League this term as Roma is playing in the Europa League. Azmoun made his debut last Sunday as a late substitute for Romelo Lukaku in a 7-0 thrashing of bottom Club Empoli

Azmoun had a slow season start so far in Rome mainly due to injuries he carried from Leverkusen plus some personal issues. AS Roma is in Group G with FC Sheriff, Servette, and Slavia Prague and will begin the campaign with the Modovan Champions FC Sheriff on Thursday 21st September.

Playing Status: Substitute
Effectiveness: 4.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 75%

Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athens): Team Melli Captain and most capped player has had a mixed season with the club. He has started 1 out of 3 league matches although he was also a starter in the UCL Qualifiers which AEK Athens lost narrowly to Antwerp.

AEK Athens is in a strong group that includes, The Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion, Ajax Amsterdam, and Marseille. It is arguably the strongest group in the Conference League and the Greek club needs to be at its best to have a chance of qualifying. The mission starts on Thursday with a match away to Brighton.

Playing Status: Substitute
Effectiveness: 6 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 35%

Milad Mohammadi (AEK Athens): started 2 of the 3 matches in the Greek league and played the full 90 minutes each time as a left-back. He seems to be growing in confidence this season after a mixed season in 2022/2023.

Playing Status: Starter
Effectiveness: 6.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 35%

Iran vs Wales: Match preview

Wales and Iran will both be going in search of their first wins of the 2022 World Cup when they face off at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Friday. After the trouncing by England, Team Melli is looking for a strong comeback to keep their qualifying hope alive. Team Melli will be without their main goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand who has a broken nose and will sit it out for the rest of the tournament. Amir Abedzadeh is making a strong claim for a starting place ahead of Hossein Hosseini who conceded six goals against England.

Iran will have to have a major facelift if they are going to beat Wales, as the lineup against England was the catalyst in this big defeat. Saman Ghoddos was sorely missed in the middle of the field so was Kanani to lead the defense.  As for the Forwards, it is likely that Queiroz, who is an aficionado of parking the bus and under immense public pressure, will start with both Azmoun and Taremi up front. The midfield in particular is in a dire need of a leader and orchestrator. Jahanbakhsh needs to stand up and be counted. Says applies to Nourollahi and Eztollahi.

Rob Page‘s Wales side rescued a point against the USA in their opening fixture, while Iran was on the end of a 6-2 pummelling at the hands of England as their World Cup campaign began in the worst possible fashion.

Hopes will be higher of picking up points against Wales, although both sides may be going into the game uncertain of what to expect with the two having only previously met on one occasion.

That contest came all the way back in April 1978 too, when former Cardiff City defender Phil Dwyer scored the only goal of the game on his debut in a friendly in Tehran’s Arayamehr Stadium.

It was not an ideal warm-up for the 1978 World Cup for Iran, who went on to finish bottom of their group behind Peru, Netherlands and Scotland – against whom they picked up their only point – in Argentina.


Wales wins: 1
Iran wins: 0
Draws: 0
Wales goals: 1
Iran goals: 0


April 18, 1978: Iran 0-1 Wales (International friendly)

Azmoun could be back in St, Petersburg in January.

The Russian “sports” website claimed in a news article today that Sardar Azmoun is on the verge of returning to Zenit St. Petersburg team.

This sport media announced that “Sergei Sumak”, the head coach of Zenit, requested the club to recruit Sardar Azmoun in the winter transfer window in January 2023 and named the Team Melli striker team as one of the winter gifts for Sumak. A part of this site’s report states: “Zenit will try to bring back Sardar Azmoun from Bayer Leverkusen, where he has struggled recently.

According to reports, the Russian club is planning to arrange a loan deal for Azoun. It is possible that the contract has a permanent purchase option. “The transfer market website has estimated the price of Sardar Azmoun at 18 million euros.” Azmoun is highly valued by the Zenit, he was on this team roster for three seasons and holds the record for the most goals among Russian foreign players. He has scored 85 goals in Russia along with “Wagner Love”, the former striker of CSKA Club.

Before this, news about the interest of Russian clubs Zenit and Dynamo in acquiring Azmoun was published and denied by some media outlets in Russia. Today’s news on the sports site is the latest news related to the striker of the Iranian national team who is currently injured and out of action for Bayer Leverkusen.

Mehdi Taremi’s goal stuns Juventus in Champions League.

A terrific start for Team Melli’s striker, Mehdi Taremi, and an early second-half goal by Moussa Marega propelled Porto to their first victory against Juventus in the Champions League as they secured a 2-1 first-leg win against the Italian champions in their round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.

Taremi pounced on a sloppy back pass after 63 seconds to fire in the opener that left Juventus, which had a fully fit Cristiano Ronaldo in the lineup, rattled and they failed to create any clear chances before half-time.

This was the fourth consecutive goal by Taremi in as many games for his club Porto in what was described as a dream run for the Iranian striker by the match commentator. Taremi, considered by many as a bargain purchase from Rio Ave by Porto, was initially left out of the starting lineup by coach  Sérgio Conceição, however, a last-minute change of match plan meant that Porto would start to play a 4-4-2 with two strikers upfront, a plan which worked to perfection as both the strikers scored early in each half.

Taremi’s brilliant scoring run, a first for Iranian professional footballer in Europe, started with a goal against Sporting Braga in two home and away consecutive cup matches, Boavista in the league and Juventus in the European Champions League.

Mehdi Taremi (28 years) has scored 9 goals for Porto this season scoring an average of a goal in every 121 minutes.

Sardar Azmoun, Taremi’s partner in Team Melli who is also enjoying a brilliant season with the Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg has scored 11 goals for his club this season averaging a goal in every 92 minutes.

Team Melli’s third striker Karim Ansarifard who plays in the Greek League with AEK Athens, has scored 8 goals in the season averaging one goal in 155 minutes of play.

Another Defeat for Team Melli, qualification in peril.

Team Melli lost its second consecutive game in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification rounds when it lost to Iraq 2-1 in the match played on Thursday 14th November in Amman Jordan.

The First half ended 1-1, Iraq starting the scoring through Muhannad Ali in the 11th Minute, While Ahmad Noorallahei equalized in the 28th. As the match was at the dying minutes of the added time, Iraq was awarded a corner which it turned into a goal to the bewilderment of Team Melli players.

The starting line-up for Team Melli was much more reasonable than the previous one against Bahrain. Wilmots finally realized the ineffectiveness of a 3 man forward game plan, leaving the midfield area in tatters and seriously deficient.  The idea of using some experience in the midfield was a good one to start with, hence the selection of Masoud Shojaei. However, the veteran 35 years old Tractor player is hardly up to the task. His inclusion in the lineup not only did not add any value for the team, on the contrary, his constant errors, but poor passing and couple of fouls committed resulted in his dismal 10 minutes before time leaving the team in a risky position. Iraq scored when Iran was one man short.

The Team Captain’s action after being given the second yellow card and the subsequent red card were distasteful and unworthy of Team Melli Captain.

Shojaei, who was booed several times in Azadi more than 10 years ago, because of his poor performances, has hardly had a good game for Team Melli and this one is another for the archives. This could probably see the end of his career with Iran’s Team Melli.

The highly tense match started with Iraq pushing forward and pressing the Iranian players on the ball. In this first quarter that pressing worked as they scored the opener.

As the match went on, Iran finally got a grip on the game and started playing, however, and surprisingly, there were too many long balls from the back to the forward line which was all dealt with quite easily by the Iraqi solid defence. There was no solid control of the midfield that Iraq had 5 players. Sardar hardly saw a decent ball from the midfield while Mehdi Taremi was nowhere to be seen in the match.

The equalizer scored by Iran was not a result of some nicely played passing game but due to the persistent and the brilliance of Mohammed Mohebbi who chased what looked like the Iraqi defender ball just near the corner. He robbed the ball, dribbled past a couple of his markers and sent it back to Noorollahei who wiggled his way past two defenders and shot a venomous ball into the far side of the goal.

It was a goal created and scored by two individual brilliant plays.

The match went on to be a scrappy affair with far too many interruptions with both side players trying to cheat and deceive the referee to gains advantage. There is far too many of this happening in the Asian Football. The Sri Lankan referee was cool enough to deal with them but he could and should have given at least two yellow cards to Iraqi players for play-acting. The referee’s decisions, however, were non-factors in the result.

This result puts Iran qualification to the World Cup in a real precarious position. Neither the result nor the performance was good enough to give the fans confidence in the team. It is a far cry from Queiroz’ days at the same stage of the qualification for World Cup 2018. It is obvious that Wilmots’ way is still not being understood or implemented.  He is still learning how to deal with this new challenge. His absence from Iran and limited time to train and coach the team does not help either and it is starting to show.

Team Melli falls short in Bahrain

Bahrain once again inflicted injury to Iranian pride by beating Team Melli 1-0 today in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers in the match played at the National Stadium in Riffa.

The solitary goal scored by Bahrain’s Mohammed Al-Hardan in the 65th minute from a penalty kick as a result of a foul committed by Majid Hosseini on the Bahraini player in the box.

It was the first defeat for Wilmots since he took over from Carlos Queiroz. The defeat came right after  14-0 win against Cambodia in Azadi. Team Melli performance was lethargic and lacked creativity. A few of the regular shortfalls were observed once again in this match including some disciplinary issues, surprisingly this time by the Captain of the team Ehsan Hajsafi who was guilty of being temperamental and unnecessary vocal after being awarded a yellow card. Not a good example for a person who should lead by example.

 Azmoun, by now well-known for his hot temperament and poor discipline, was seconds away from receiving two consecutive yellow cards and subsequent dismissal after a vehement protest against the Uzbek referee for not calling a penalty. The Uzbek referee V. Kovalenko seemed to be right on both calls.

The match played in sweltering heat and high humidity, was slow to take shape. Both teams seemed to conserve energy for better endurance. By the 15th minute, both teams players’ jerseys were wet as if were taken fresh out of water. Naturally, the hosts who are used to this sort of weather ¾ of the year managed to acclimatize better under the circumstances.

Marc Wilmots, elected to start with 3 forwards upfront, a plan that did not yield well. Karim Ansarifard, the 4 goal hero of last Thursday, was virtually just a bystander figure who did not seem to have turned up for the game. He was substituted in the 70th minute while Wilmots could have done much better if that substitution was done earlier.

There was very little to differentiate between the two teams as their defences did not have many problems against the opposition forwards. However, the trio Azmoun, Taremi and Ansarifard were quite disappointing. Whatever balls that reached the veteran Bahrain goalkeeper Seyed Mohammaed Jaffar was dealt with by him.

Omid Ebrahimi was the dynamo of the team and most of the offensive moves were started by his excellent distributions. However, Ebrahimi lacked support in the midfield as neither Hajsafi or Mohebi could add value to the schemer in the centre of the field. Wilmots would have been better off adding another specialized midfielder like Noorollahi using four players for better control of the midfield. The flanks did not operate well either as Milad Mohammadi and Ramin Rezaeian were limited in their action.

The defence line was fine but Majid Hosseini committed two critical errors, one of which cost Iran the game. In the first instance, the young central defender left a lot of space for Bahrain forward, but for his poor finishing, the host could have taken the lead much earlier. In the second, his poor position again and lunging at the Bahraini forward, cost the penalty.

The result takes Bahrain to the top of the group along with Iraq with 7 points while Iran with 6 points drops to 3rd. It was more than a disappointing result with several tactical errors observed. Wilmots need to seriously look at his lineup that lacked balanced. This mentality of an all-out offensive game plan must not obscure his vision and should be revisited.  Cracks began to appear early in the match as teams such as Bahrain and Iraq can exploit them.  the Belgian need to go back to the drawing board.


Iran’s next game is in one month’s time away to Iraq.


Barazay “Kranjcar is the perfect coach for Omid Team”

The Captain of Team Melli U-23 , known as the Omid Team , has spoken to ISNA about the aspirations and the prospects of the team.

Behnam Barazay , the current Rah Ahan player and the Captain of the U23 team , believes in strong preparation games ” unless we play against quality teams for our friendly games to get the big experience , I am afraid we will not be able to qualify for the Olympic Games.”

The young striker , is also confident that the Croat coach Zlatko Kranjcar is the best candidate for the Omid team ” He has coached at different levels, his record is quite good , he coached in Iran and his approach is professional. I believe he is the perfect coach for Omid Team.”

“Although many players prefer to work with Iranian coaches, and I am one of those players , as communication is easier , however a coach in the class of Kranjcar can make a big difference.” Barazay added.

Regarding the recent failures specifically in the Asian Games in Incheon, Barazay said ” The players were under tremendous stress after the Asian Games. In the Qatar camp , quite a lot of work was done on the psychological aspect but fear of losing still causes a lot of stress.”

About his own future career and whether he will follow his teammates Alireza Jahanbaksh and Sardar Azamoun in to Europe,  Barazay Did not want to think about that for the time being although he received an offer from an Arab team. ” All my concentration right now is on the form of my team Rah Ahan. I have  not succeeded in gaining the full confidence of Hamid Estili yet. My goal is to do that. I need to get it right here in Iran before thinking about abroad and becoming a legionnaires”

The situation with the appointment of Kranjcar took another weird twist when it was decided that a committee within the football federation will have to examine the Croat coach resume and give its seal of approval before the coach can be appointed. This development cam up aright after Ali Kaffashian and Habib Kashani confirmed the appointment of the ex-Sepahan Esfahan coach as the head coach of the Omid Team. Many observers are suspecting some interference by the Ministry of Sport who always claims that they have no role in appointing coaches for National Team , but in reality they exert pressure on the FFIRI and Kaffashian to pass their own candidates.


Behnam Barazay

Behnam Barazay