Iran men's national football team has achieved yet another convincing victory in the third round of the 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup qualification tournament, and scored a triumph against South Korea.
Held in a mournful atmosphere on Tasu'a, the eve of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam, with thousands of black clad Shia Muslims in attendance, Team Melli notched up a 1-0 win over the Taeguk Warriors in a Group A fixture at Tehran's Azadi Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Even though the Persians got off to a strong start, they easily lost the possession of the ball early into the encounter. The visitors then played several passes in a bid to slow down the tempo.
Iran's 24-year-old goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, who plays for Tehran-based giants Persepolis in the Persian Gulf Pro League, collected the ball in the 4th minute, and sent it wide near South Korea's box. Midfielder Vahid Amiri, though, was caught offside.
Three minutes later, the hosts were awarded an indirect free kick from the left side of the pitch. Defender Morteza Pouraliganji picked up the ball in the six-yard box and opened the scoring. The goal was, however, disallowed by Japanese referee Ryuji Sato as offside.
In the 10th minute, midfielder Alireza Jahanbakhsh grasped a marvelous opportunity just on the brink of the visitors' penalty area, and ran down the ball with steps before dropping it with a left-sided kick.
Six minutes later, the Iranians earned another indirect free kick. Ehsan Hajsafi sent the ball just in front of Jahanbakhsh's feet, who struck the ball carelessly wide off the target.
Finally, Iran's 26-year-old Ramin Rezaeian penetrated the visitor's penalty area in the 25th minute, and volleyed the ball to professional forward Sardar Azmoun, who plays as a striker for FC Rostov in the Russian Premier League.
Azmoun did not hesitate and cracked a shot to place the ball into the corner of Taeguk Warriors' net and put Team Melli 1-0 ahead.
The Iranians retreated after scoring the goal. The South Koreans saw the time ripe to mount a string of attacks and place Iran's goal under pressure, but their efforts did not bear any fruit.
In the 43rd minute and two minutes before the referee was to blow his while and signal the end of the first half, Ashkan Dejagah sailed the ball towards South Korea's goal. Seyyed Jalal Hosseini, however, mishit the ball out.
The South Koreans tried to get close to netting the equalizer after the interval, but Hosseini was quick and clever enough to dash the visitors' hopes.
Jahanbakhsh sent a good ball to Azmoun in the South Korea's penalty area in the 50th minute, but the latter could not control the ball and South Korea's goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu made a save to catch the ball.
Four minutes later, the visitors were awarded an indirect free kick close to Iran's 18-yard box but Persians did not let the ball go through.
In the 73rd minute, Team Melli could score the second goal, but Azmoun simply lost the ball.
The Iranian prodigy received a yellow card seven minutes later after having committed a foul on a South Korean player.
Iran's defensive midfielder Andranik Timotian-Samarani, commonly known as Ando, replaced Mehdi Taremi.
Ando, who currently plays for Machine Sazi in the Persian Gulf Pro League, seized a fabulous opportunity in the 90th minute but did not concentrate and kicked the ball over South Korea's goal.
The South Koreans haplessly sent a few ball towards Iran's goal during the three-minute injury, but to no avail and the hosts emerged victorious at the final whistle.
... Payvand News - 10/12/16 ... --