Sport Asia
Don't Miss

Football: Asian Cup, Group C – Iran, UAE into last eight

Young Iran striker Sardar Azmoun was praised by coach Carlos Queiroz after his match winner. Photos: AFCAsianCup.com.

Young Iran striker Sardar Azmoun was praised by coach Carlos Queiroz after his match winner. Photos: AFCAsianCup.com.

January 15, 2015: Carlos Queiroz compared Sardar Azmoun to Dutch legend Ruud van Nistelrooy after the young striker scored the goal against that secured Iran’s place in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup.

 

Azmoun, 20, netted a wonderful 52nd-minute effort on Thursday evening to give Iran a 1-0 win over Gulf Cup champions Qatar that maintained their perfect start in Australia. UAE also progressed with a 2-1 win over Bahrain, with the two Group C sides joining Australia, Korea Republic and China in the last eight.

 

Queiroz heaped praise on Azmoun’s technique after a goal that saw him turn the Qatari defence before sliding the ball beyond goalkeeper Qasem Burhan.

 

“Brilliant goal. It was a special movement of the centre forward to make a great turn at the level of some of the best centre forwards I have worked with in my life, like Ruud van Nistelrooy. It was a brilliant goal,” said Queiroz, who has coached Real Madrid and Portugal, and was Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United.

 

“I think we knew that we should try those turns and we should try to attack the space behind, but the way he moved the ball for a young player shows he has a great future in front of him.”

 

The win follows a 2-0 victory over Bahrain and means Iran will go into their final Group C meeting with the UAE in Brisbane on Monday needing to win to finish top of the group.

 

Iran booked their place in the AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Qatar on Thursday.

Iran booked their place in the Asian Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Qatar on Thursday evening.

Iran’s margin of victory could have been much greater, but after Azmoun came off due to injury, his replacement Reza Ghoochannejhad missed a handful of chances to make the points safe, enraging Queiroz on the bench.

 

“I don’t feel frustrated, I just call for attention and put pressure on the team because you must finish the game, especially when you have eight counterattacks in the last 15 or 20 minutes,” Queiroz said.

 

“With a simple pass into the box anything can happen; a simple accident can turn the game and you can score. It’s important to keep cool and hold the ball and finish the game.

 

“From the bench we saw one, two, three, four, five, six, seven chances to score and the goal never came. It’s just my mentality. If I can win 1-0, I will take the chance. Two is better, three is better, four is better.”

 

Azmoun left the field with a calf problem and Queiroz stressed it was too early to determine whether the Rubin Kazan forward would be fit to face UAE.

 

“We think it’s not serious, but after the effect of the cramp we need to see tomorrow,” Queiroz said. “It’s too early to diagnose, but we are positive.”

 

UAE's Ali Mabkhout (left) wins a header, having earlier scored the Asian Cup's fastest-ever goal after 14 seconds.

UAE’s Ali Mabkhout (left) wins a header, having earlier scored the Asian Cup’s fastest-ever goal after 14 seconds.

UAE coach Mahdi Ali praised his players for registering another win that would “bring joy” to the people of the Emirates, after his side recorded a hard-earned win over Bahrain at Canberra Stadium.

 

After a 4-1 drubbing of Qatar on Sunday at the same venue, UAE looked set for a second win as Ali Mabkhout put his side in front after just 14 seconds, setting a record for the Asian Cup’s fastest-ever goal.

 

Jaycee John equalised for Bahrain just before the half-hour mark, but the UAE were dominant for long periods of the game and their greater attacking threat was rewarded on the 74th minute as Mohamed Hussain netted into his own goal.

 

“It was a tough game and the most important thing is we got the three points,” Ali said. “This team brings a lot of joy to our UAE nationals and the people are happy and proud. The best moment for me is when I see the UAE fans are happy for the win, that’s a great feeling.

 

“This win will help relax us a bit with regards the pressure against Iran and we will try to go again with the same mentality.”

 

Source: Michael Church / Daniel Pordes / AFC Asian Cup (www.afcasiancup.com); Editing by SportAsia

You must be logged in to post a comment Login