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Iran to play Singapore in Asian Cup without European stars

SINGAPORE, Jan. 5 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran is to play Singapore in the Asian Cup Group E qualifier match on Wednesday without its high-profile European stars.

Javad Nekounam and Masoud Shojaei will be absent against Singapore after La Liga side, Osasuna, didn't grant permission to them to leave Spain. Victory in the match will surely ease the pressure on Afshin Ghotbi's shoulders for not getting satisfying results in the Qatar tournament last week. 

Of course, Iran will take advantage of Andranik Teymourian, Ferydoon Zandi and Mohsen Khalili in the match. Both sides set the agenda for the crucial tie which could ultimately decide who qualifies for the tournament during the pre-match press conference held at the Amara Hotel in Singapore, according to ESPNstar.

Ghobti reiterated the fact that he is building a new team after the Asian powerhouse failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He said, "Iran is a different team now. My goal after our failure to qualify for the World Cup is to build a new team, create a new generation and also to play a different kind of football. All these changes need time before we can reach our full potential."

Iran tops Group E with seven points, and Singapore is second with six points. Thailand and Jordan are in third and fourth places with five and four points respectively, and will play against each other on Wednesday at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Thailand.

... Payvand News - 01/05/10 ... --

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