AFC U-16: Dominant Iran beats DPR Korea via penalty shoot-out

Iran will meet Iraq in Sunday's final at the Fatorda stadium in Margao, Goa.

The Iranians dominated its opponent in possession and chances created, and its defence was hardly troubled.   -

Iran booked its ticket to the final of the AFC Under-16 Championship after beating defending champions DPR Korea 6-5 in a penalty shootout victory after the sides were deadlocked at 1-1 during the regulation 90 minutes. Korea’s Kim Kyong Sok heartbreakingly missed his penalty, gifting the Iranians a final date with Iraq.

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It was all Iran in the first half as the Koreans couldn’t keep up with the pace of its opponent’s forwards. The Iranians dominated its opponent in possession and chances created, and its defence was hardly troubled. After one-sided 19 minutes, Iran deservedly opened the scoring through an indirect freekick from inside the box.

DPR Korea’s goalkeeper Sin Tae Wong erroneously picked up the ball thinking it had gone out of play for a goal-kick. This error in judgement proved costly as Iran’s skipper Mohammed Sharifi smashed home from just over 12 yards. The narrative was the same for the rest of the half as the Iranian attack regularly found space behind its opponent’s back-line but couldn’t apply the final touch.

Second half was a lot more even as DPR Korea was in search of the elusive equaliser. However, the Iranian defence held on and its forwards continued to trouble DPR Korea’s defense. Attacking midfielder Mohammad Ghaderi was especially threatening as the Koreans could not deal with his pace and tricks. He was a regular supply for the forwards.

Korea’s patience finally paid off as it equalised from the penalty spot in the 81st minute. A freekick for the Koreans, right outside the box, was struck into the wall. Iran’s Amir Khodamoradi unfortunately handled the ball inside the box, and the resulting penalty was duly slotted by Kye Tam.

Iran had glorious chances to finish off the game, especially Younes Delfi who only had the keeper to beat in the 90th minute. He, unbelievably, shot past the left hand post to the massive relief of ‘keeper Sin Tae Song. Both teams held on as the score remained 1-1 till the end of regulation time, paving the way for a penalty shootout.

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