Iran’s national football squad has sealed the destiny in the next round of Asian Nation’s Cup in Australia with a late header by Reza Qouchannejad.
The game was to decide on the first qualified team of Group C, where both Iran and the UAE ruled the roost with six points from last two games. The game kicked off in Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane 19 hours local time.
Iran’s Carlos Queiroz introduced four changes to the team defeating Qatar in the second game; Khosrwo Heidari, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Vahid Amiri, and Soroush Rafiei played in and Vouria Ghafouri, Ashkan Dejagah, Ehsan Hajsafi, and Masoud Shojaei were sitting among the reserve team.
The first half of the game was rather uneventful, with both teams evaluating each other in the midfield. The only goal came late in the game when Iran won a corner free kick, where Reza Qouchannejad sent the ball inside the goal with a header opportunistically.
Iran’s performance was rather unattractive and although satisfied the boys of Queiroz, it equally disgruntled the many of the Iran fans. 9 points in a difficult group may seem quite an achievement for Iran; however, the style of the play by Iran lives short of the expectations, raising concerns over how Iran would handle more organized and motivated teams in the next rounds of the games.
The UAE, despite the defeat, played quite well, moving the ball around the field with ease and, although organized no threat before Iran’s penalty box, its midfielder Omar Abdurrahman helped the team and owned the ball in larger part of the second half.
Iran will play against the second team of Group D in quarterfinals, which could be Iraq or Jordan, should Jordan win Japan and Iraq is drawn by Palestine as only one of many possibilities.