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Iran 2, Oman 2: AFC bans three Iranians, sends referee packing

Tehran, July 25, IRNA -- The Asian Football Confederation Sunday suspended three Iranian players and sent Bahraini referee Abdul Rahman Al Delawar home.

After reviewing video of the 13th Asian Cup Group match between Iran and Oman in Chongqing, southwestern China, the AFC disciplinary committee suspended the two defenders of Iran, Rahman Rezaei and Ali Badavi, for two next matches due to a disgraceful bust-up on 55 minutes.

The duo were fined 3,500 dollars each.

Defender Mohammad Nosrati, who salvaged a 2-2 draw for Iran three minutes deep into the injury time was punished with a four-match ban and a 7,000-dollar fine for harshly trampling on the back of Oman striker Imad Ali in an off-the-ball incident in the 62nd minute.

Ali scored both goals of the Persian Gulf sultanate's team before the interval.

The Bahraini referee Delawar was knocked out of the tournament for his erratic officiating that the Omanis believe cost them an invaluable victory over the three-time champion.

The AFC warned before the tournament that referees guilty of major errors would be punished to raise officiating standards.

Head of the AFC refereeing committee, Farouk Bouzo, said in a statement that Rahman had been sent home after a panel had reviewed his performance.

"Our referees were told at the start that we expected much from them and that they were responsible for their decisions," Bouzo said.

"They were informed that any influential mistake will not be acceptable and that referees who did not show a good standard or made influential mistakes would not be given a second chance."


Lucky Mohammad Nosrati grabbed the equalizer with a looping header in the stoppage time to hold the budding Oman to a 2-2 draw in steamy Chongqing Saturday.

The Persian Gulf minnow took the lead on 31 minutes when Imad Ali found Iran's net at a controversial scene.

Iranian players rushed to the Bahraini referee Rahman al Delawar, believing Ali was offside.

The situation was exacerbated for the three-time champion five minutes before the interval as Ali celebrated his own and Oman's second with a spectacular header.

Worst of all, the Italy's Messina-bound defender Rahman Rezaei, who was booked in the 48th minute and teammate Ali Badavi slapped each other in the face -- a rare event witnessed in the football world -- after the international brought down an Omani striker on the edge of the area.

Croat manager Branko Ivankovic replaced Badavi with Sattar Zare' two minutes later to prevent more scuffle between the nervous duo.

Surprising to all, the UAE's Al Ahly playmaker Ali Karimi, who was nicknamed "wizard" by the Arabs waved his magic wand, pulling one back on 61 minutes with a low drive.

Oman missed gilt-edged chances, letting Iran to secure the parity three minutes into the additional time.

Asian Player of The Year 2004 Mehdi Mahdavikia curled a delightful 40-yard free-kick in the crowded box, which was steered home by Nosrati with a well-flighted header wide above the hapless Omani keeper Al Hasbi.


The bans on three regulars mean Iran has a depleted defense line at Wednesday's tough clash against holder Japan.

Sticking to the heels of Group D leader Japan, the Iranian side is one point from the quarterfinals.

Following the controversial Iran-Oman game, Nippon fought back to tame Thailand 4-1, advancing to the last eight as the second time.

Uzbekistan booked a berth in the quarterfinals as the first team after stunning Saudi Arabia 1-0.

... Payvand News - 7/25/04 ... --

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