AFC Asian Cup: Iran performs five-goal show

Three-time champion Iran punishes Yemen with five goals to nil in its Group D encounter on Monday.

Yemen's goalkeeper Saoud Al-Sowadi dives but fails to save the goal from Iran's Saman Ghoddos at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday.   -  AP

Chants of Iran chikarash karde? (what did Iran do?) Sorakh sorakhash karde (they destroyed them) rang across Abu Dhabi's Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Monday. And Team Melli did just that, as it handed debutant Yemen a five-goal thumping in a lopsided contest in its AFC Asian Cup Group D encounter.

Iran piled on the attacks in the opening quarter and it was only a matter of time before the men in white found the opener. Mehdi Teremi played a neat little pass to Sardar Azmoun at the edge of the box.

He dodged past a defender to unleash a curling right-footer. It appeared to be a regulation save for the Yemen goalkeeper but he spilled it and Teremi latched on to the loose ball to put the Iranians ahead in the 12th minute.

Yemen was left to chase the ball as Team Melli offered them very little room to compete. Carlos Quieroz's men held 70 per cent of possession and mostly played around the opposition box; except for the rare Yemen counter which was aptly dealt with.

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Iran won a freekick a few yards from the box and captain Ashkan Dejagah, who had spent two seasons with Premier League side Fulham, decided to have a crack at it. He struck it well and curled it towards the right corner. The ball took a deflection off the post and bounced off the 'keeper to roll into the net in the 23rd minute.

Iran's third goal within two minutes came when Teremi returned to haunt the Yemeni defence. Ramin Rezaeian played a teasing cross from the right and Teremi, who was completely unmarked, timed his jump to perfection and nodded the ball into the right corner to put his side firmly in control.

Though Iran played a beautiful brand of attacking football, the game was littered with far too many fouls, taking away a bit of sheen from its otherwise glittering display.

Iran launched four attacks in the opening three minutes of the second half and raced to a 4-0 lead in quick time. FC Rubin Kazan forward Sardar Azmoun finished off a poorly cleared cross to open his account for the tournament.

Iran forward Sardar Azmoun (centre) celebrates after scoring his side's fourth goal.   -  AFP


Yemen custodian Abdullah Al-Sowadi's torrid night continued as substitute Saman Ghoddos struck thunderous half-volley from the edge of the box that pierced into the back of the net in the 77th minute — the fifth goal of the match.

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