Mon, Feb 05, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Iran, Iraq advance with Group C wins

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Iraq midfielder Rafid Hameed, center, yesterday battles for the ball with Myanmar players in the University of Taipei Gymnasium.

Photo: Asian Football Confederation

The top seeds in Group C took different paths to advance yesterday, as defending champions Iran dismantled China 11-1 and Iraq edged Myanmar 3-2 in the Asian Football Confederation Futsal Championship.

They joined Japan and Uzbekistan, who yesterday booked their spots in the knock-out stage with decisive wins at the University of Taipei Gymnasium.

The Samurai Warriors trounced fierce rivals South Korea 5-2, while the Uzbek White Wolves doubled up on their neighbors Tajikistan 4-2.

Earning two wins from two matches thus far, Iran and Iraq each nailed down six points and are assured of the first and second places in the group respectively, while China and Myanmar suffered two defeats and have gathered no points.

Iraq engaged in a tough fight with Myanmar, with Waleed Khalid Fahem scoring on a penalty to open the count. Khin Zaw Lin netted Myanmar’s equalizer to level the count at halftime.

Hasan Ali Jabbar knocked in a header to take the lead, only for Myanmar to level again on an indirect free-kick with Pyae Phyo Maung tapping the ball into the net. The table was set for Fahem to dribble past defenders and blast in the winning goal in the closing minutes.

Iraq has had a difficult path thus far, as they had to mount a major effort in their first match, coming back from two goals down to prevail over China 4-2, before edging Myanmar by a single goal.

“I knew it would be a difficult match. We knew Myanmar are a good team, despite losing to Iran. Iran are not only the best in Asia, but third in the world. It will be an experiment for the Iraqi team to go up against them,” Iraq head coach Haitham Abbas Bawei said.

“We knew we had to win — that’s why we performed better this time. This is our first time in this tournament, so our players don’t have the competition experience, but I’m happy with my team’s progress,” Myanmar head coach Htay Myint said.

The powerful Iranian team had a much easier time, as they celebrated their second straight double-digit victory.

Iran on Friday steamrollered Myanmar 14-0 in their opener, before trouncing China 11-1 yesterday.

Hossein Tayyebi, Mahdi Javid, Farhad Tavakoli and Mohammad Shajari all scored for Iran in the first half, while Chinese striker Xu Yang replied to made it 6-1 at halftime.

In Group D yesterday, Jordan downed Thailand 5-2, while Kyrgyzstan stopped Jordan 3-1.

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