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As Iran books berth for Asian Cup 2011, coach says Iran's football is political

Source: Mehr News Agency

SINGAPORE -- A convincing 3-1 victory over Singapore secured Iran's berth for the Asian Cup 2011 in Qatar. Iran edged Singapore 3-1 at the Bishan Stadium in the Group E Asian Cup 2011 qualifier on Wednesday.

Hadi Aghily put the Persians in lead in the 10th minute from the penalty spot. Mehrzad Madanchi doubled the score two minutes later. The Al-Ahli midfielder opened Singapore's goal from the edge of the box.

Noh Alam Shah's header pulled a goal back in the 31st minute.

Gholamreza Rezaei skillfully chipped the ball past the Singaporean keeper in the 62nd minute and made the score 3-1 in favor of Afshin Ghotbi's team who is under pressure after coming fourth in the Qatar Four-aside Football Tournament last week.

Meanwhile, in the same group Thailand was held to a goalless draw against struggling Jordan at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok.

Iran has qualified for the Asian Cup 2011 with 10 points and is top of its group. It will play Thailand in Tehran's Azadi Stadium on March 3.

Iranians fans were chanting for the Green opposition in the stadium

Ghotbi: Iran's football is political

Afshin Ghotbi said that Iranian football has extremely become a political battleground which is too hard to work in.

Iran's coach participated in the Singapore vs. Iran post-match press conference at the Bishan Stadium. The Iranians defeated their host 3-1 in Group E Asian Cup 2011 qualifier and advanced to the final round which will be held in Qatar.

"Today, Iran's football has unfortunately become a political battleground. As we all saw the stadium's atmosphere was marred by skirmishes and in my opinion it is too hard to work in this condition," Ghotbi said.

"We made efforts to beat Singapore and eventually we qualified for the Asian Cup 2011. I dedicate this victory to all Iranians, in particular to Nasser Hejazi (former Iran keeper who was recently discharged from hospital)," the 45-year-old added.

... Payvand News - 1/6/10 ... --

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