Tag: UAE

Iran’s Beach Soccer to meet Brazil in the semi-finals.

Iran 2-1 United Arab Emirates

Iran came from behind to defeat the United Arab Emirates in front of a raucous Dubai Design District Stadium crowd and reach the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ semi-finals. 

The hosts took the lead in the second period when Ali Mohammad crossed for an unmarked Abdulla Abbas to head home. Just over three minutes later, though, Iran were level when Mohammad Masoumi scored a header of his own, before goalkeeper Seyed Mehdi Mirjalili netted with a terrific volley.

While the UAE, who had not trailed at any point in the tournament before Mirjalili struck, tried to get back into the game, they couldn’t find a way through a staunch Iranian rearguard.

Mirjalili’s goal is the fifth goal scored by the two Iranian goalkeepers in this edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Team Melli will now face Brazil in the semi-finals on Saturday. In the other semi-finals, Italy will meet Belarus.

Iran goals: Masoumi, Mirjalili

United Arab Emirates goals: Abbas

Player of the Match: Seyed Mehdi Mirjalili

History making Tajikistan advance past UAE


Al Rayyan: Tajikistan advanced to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ quarter-finals after a hard-fought 5-3 penalty shootout win over United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

The match was forced into an additional 30 minutes after UAE’s Khalifa Al Hammadi scored in the fifth minute of second half added time to cancel out Vahdat Hanonov’s opener at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

Goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov was Tajikistan’s hero, judging correctly to deny Caio Canedo’s penalty when the shootout was tied 1-1 as the Central Asian side extended their debut campaign to the quarter-finals, with either Iraq or Jordan their next opponents. 

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Both teams showed plenty of attacking intent right from the onset with UAE having the first sights at goal. The chance came within the opening minute as Fabio Lima’s free-kick was palmed away by Tajik goalkeeper Yatimov, followed by striker Canedo’s attempt from outside the box that sailed too high five minutes later.

However, it was Tajikistan who opened the scoring after defender Zoir Dzhuraboev’s inch perfect cross was headed into the bottom left corner of the UAE goal by Hanonov just as the match hit the half-hour mark.

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UAE almost responded immediately with Zayed Sultan’s right-footed attempt from the centre of the Tajikistan box forcing Yatimov into making a diving save.

The Emiratis spent the rest of the first half continuing to make forays into the Tajik penalty area, with charges from the likes of Canedo, Lima and Yahya Al Ghassani, but failed to find a way through. 

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The second half began in similar fashion with both teams maintaining their offensive mindset but it was once again the tournament debutants who came close to doubling their lead with Ehson Panjshabe and Alisher Dzhalilov forcing saves out of UAE captain Khalid Eisa. 

Tajikistan should have gone further ahead in the 60th minute when Parvizdzhon Umarbayev’s through ball found Dzhalilov just outside the box, but the Istiklol midfielder shot straight at Eisa.

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Dzhalilov had another great chance 10 minutes later when Shahrom Samiev sped down the right flank before floating a beautiful cross but the number 10 wasted the golden opportunity by sending the ball wide.

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The missed chances cost Tajikistan as UAE equalised right at the end, with defender Al Hammadi rising high to nod home Ali Saleh’s free-kick in the fifth minute of added time, taking the game to an additional 30 minutes. 

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Neither side looked eager to take risks in added time with Yatimov producing the only save of the shootout to ensure Tajikistan’s dream campaign continued.

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. 

Iran v UAE: Group C decider


Head coach Paulo Bento highlighted intelligent play and humility as qualities his UAE side need if they are to get a result against Iran in their third match of the AFC Asian Cup™ Qatar 2023 on Tuesday.

The UAE currently sit second in the group with four points to their name, but a defeat at Education City Stadium and other results going against them could see Bento’s men exit the competition in the group stage for the first time since 2011.

After a convincing 3-1 win over Hong Kong, China in their opening fixture, the UAE were held to a 1-1 draw against Palestine in a game they finished with 10 men after defender Khalifa Al Hammadi was sent off in the 37th minute. Bento also received a red card just before the final whistle, meaning he will be suspended for the Iran clash.

“Preparation for this match is going as normal,” said Bento.

“We are trying to recover as much as possible. The last game was difficult for us especially after minute 37 when we started playing with one player less. That was an important factor for sure.”

“We prepared our strategy for the next game against one of the strongest teams in Asia and the strongest in our group. It is a team that is composed of very good, experienced players, some of them play in high-level competitions. They play together for a long time and they don’t change their way of playing too much.

“It is a team that is easy to see their strengths, but not easy for the opponent to counter them, so we need to make a very good game in many aspects. We should be clever in the way we play against Iran and compete very well and be humble to accept that in some moments we will not dominate the game, so we have to control it in a different way, and reach the best possible result in a different way.”

And while Iran were one of the first teams to book their place in the next round, head coach Amir Ghalenoei acknowledged some problems faced in their last game against Hong Kong, China, insisting his side will not take things easy against the UAE on Tuesday.

“We are happy we were able to qualify for the next round,” said Ghalenoei.

“Based on our analysis and statistics, we had more than 70% possession and completed more than 200 passes against Hong Kong. In this tournament, in only two matches were one of the teams unable to complete 100 passes, one was India vs Uzbekistan and the other one was Hong Kong against us.

“We did have some problems, our passing accuracy was not great, we gave an opportunity to the opponents and their chances came from mistakes of our players, but I want to say thanks to all my players for the effort they put in against Hong Kong.”

UAE v IR Iran
Venue: Education City Stadium (Al Rayyan)
Kick-off: 18:00 (UTC+3)

“Tomorrow’s game will not be easy because we want to win and qualify to the second round as leaders. UAE are in good condition under Paulo Bento, and it will not be an easy match, Also Palestine still have a chance to qualify and because of the spirit of fair play, we want to play at our best too.

“Every player in the team knows they should have their best individual performance in order for us to be successful.”



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.

Iran Youths qualify for AFC U20 Asian Cup 2023 finals in Uzbekistan

Bishkek: Iran found their scoring boots in the second half to defeat the United Arab Emirates 2-0 to finish top of Group J of the AFC U20 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2023 Qualifiers on Sunday.
Kyrgyz Republic defeated Brunei Darussalam 6-0 to finish as the Group J runners-up, keeping alive their hopes of advancing to the Finals as one of the five best second-placed teams.
UAE 0-2 IR Iran
Iran came into the tie only needing to avoid defeat to book their place in the Finals following their earlier wins over the Kyrgyz Republic and Brunei Darussalam. 

Only a win would do for UAE, having lost 2-0 to the Kyrgyz Republic on Friday after having kicked off their campaign with a 5-0 victory over Brunei Darussalam.

A tight first half meant neither side was able to find the back of the net but that changed in the second period with Iran taking control of proceedings. 

The Central Asian side’s persistence was rewarded in the 71st minute with forward Saied Saharkhizan slotting home. 

A desperate UAE tried to find their way back but their hopes were dashed in the sixth minute of added time with Amir Ebrahimzadeh scoring Iran’s second. 

Amir Ebrahimzadeh scored five goals as Iran, who were made to work hard for their opening day 1-0 win over the Kyrgyz Republic, strolled to victory against Brunei Darussalam at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium.

Midfielder Mohammadreza Torabi put Iran ahead in the 23rd minute and that paved the way for total domination as Ebrahimzadeh (27th) and Mojtaba Fakhrian (45+1) secured a comfortable lead going into the break.

UAE call on fans to help fire them on in World Cup crunch against South Korea

The UAE insists they can keep alive their chances of making it to the World Cup by inflicting defeat on unbeaten South Korea on Tuesday night – but acknowledge they will need the backing of fervent home support to make it happen.

The national team would have secured third place in the qualifying group – and thus a place in the play-off phase – had they not lost to Iraq in a dismal game in Saudi Arabia last week.

They still have a one-point lead over the Iraqis ahead of the final matchday. However, while Iraq will face last-placed Syria in their final match, the UAE will simultaneously be playing South Korea, the top-ranked side who have not lost a game in the nine matches in the group so far.

Despite the daunting task, defender Abdulaziz Haikal says the home team is capable of advancing and has implored fans to help them in their bid to do so at the Al Maktoum Stadium.

“We still have hopes to get third place and qualification is still in our hands,” Haikal said.

“We will fight to the end, but we need the support of the fans. If they are here, we can win the match.

“Our preparation has been like any other match, but we realize the importance of this. We have to fight to win. We are preparing technically and mentally for this match.

“We are representing our country and our flag. We need help from the fans, and we promise them we will change the picture from the last performance.”

Rodolfo Arruabarrena, the UAE coach, said fans will see a marked improvement from the listless display against Iraq, which culminated in a 1-0 defeat.

“I know we didn’t produce the performance everyone expected from us against Iraq,” Arruabarrena said.

“There were no clear chances for scoring. Anyone who watched the match on TV would have fallen asleep because it was such a bad match.

“But [against South Korea] we will see another performance. I trust the players. I have seen at training that they want to make something happen.”

The hosts’ task has been made all the more challenging by the absence, through suspension, of Ali Mabkhout.

The striker has scored more goals – 14 – than any other player in the world in the course of qualifying for the World Cup.

“We have to win the game by any means possible,” Arruabarrena said.

“Iraq made it a very tough match. They closed the space and there were no clear chances. Now for us, we have to find a win by any way possible.”

Paulo Bento, the South Korea coach, said: “it is not our business” who takes third place, as he pointed out, “we have done our job, we achieved our goal” having already secured qualification.

“In the last game, we went past Iran and achieved first position,” Bento said, referencing his side’s 2-0 win in Seoul on Thursday.

“Now we would like to keep that position. That is enough for us to be motivated and focused for the game.”

The Portuguese coach is committed to winning the qualifying group, rather than experimenting with personnel or resting players.

“We will choose the best starting XI possible to achieve our goal,” Bento said.

“We want to close these qualifiers in the best possible way, gaining the three points. This is an important game for us because winning this game will mean we finish in first place in the group.

“For us, it is a very important game so we are not going to concede opportunities to the players depending on whether they have played more or fewer minutes in the previous games.”

Kim Yong-Gwon, the South Korea center-back who scored in the win over Iran, echoed Bento’s comments. “We have already qualified, yes, but we are a team that tries to put everything into each match,” Kim said. “There will be less pressure, of course, but we will try to play with confidence. All the players know what we need to do on the pitch. We will put 100 percent into the game.”

A win for Team Melli against Lebanon, while UAE stops the Koreans will result in Iran taking the lead of Group A and a better place in the seeding for the draw on Friday.

Final training before UAE match

The final Team Melli’s training session before the game against the UAE was held at 15:30 Monday, at the No. 2 field of the National Football Center.

The training in the presence of the Iranian Minister of Youth and Sports and hordes of news photographers was conducted under strict health protocols. Social distancing with the media was strictly observed.

* Ahmad Nourollahi,  who missed the match against Iraq due to Corona, returned to training after his latest PCR Test was Negative.  He was the subject of attention by the photographers and members of the media.

* With Beiranvand’s absence, the head coach invited Akhbari as the third Team Melli keeper for the match against the UAE.

Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem, the president of FFIRI was hosting the minister and both had a friendly chat with the players and coaches before the start of training.

* The players warmed up at the beginning of the practice and then in single-player groups, they carried out one-on-one passes.

* The representative of the Asian Football Confederation attended the training of the Iranian national team and monitored all the training points and the presence of the media to ensure compliance with the health protocols.

* The media left the training ground after 40 minutes of training today according to AFC rules.


Sardar Azmoun may join Bayer Leverkusen as early as next week!

A French journalist claimed that the Iranian striker would terminate his contract this winter and will immediately join the Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in the winter transfer window.

Zenit striker Sardar Azmoun will terminate his contract with Zenit St Petersburg ahead of schedule and join Leverkusen this winter, RMC Sports correspondent Luis Tanzi reported on Twitter, according to RMC. The German club will most likely pay for the Azmoun contract period.

One week ago, Azmoon signed a contract with Bayer until 2027. The player’s current contract is with Zenit is valid until the summer of 2022. Azmoun has scored 10 goals and provided 4 assists in 21 games for Zenit this season. The Zenit club announced that the player will not attend Zenit training for two weeks and will be in quarantine so that he can regain his health. Thus, the striker of Bayer Leverkusen next season will be absent for two weeks, even in the training sessions of his club team, and will not be available for the Team Melli game against the UAE in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers on Tuesday 1st February.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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