FIFA U-17 WC: Iran blanks Costa Rica to finish top of group

Asian powerhouse Iran blanked Costa Rica 3-0 to top group C and finish the group stage on an unbeaten note.

Iran players celebrate a goal during their side's 3-0 rout of Costa Rica on Friday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

Iran blanked Costa Rica 3-0 to top Group C with an all-win record in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Friday.

Iran had already secured a place in the Round of 16 with back-to-back wins over Guinea and Germany.

In its final group engagement at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Asian nation scored through Mohammad Ghobeishavi (25th minute), Taha Shariati (29th) and Mohammad Sardari (89th) to top the group with nine points from three matches.

MATCH CENTRE

Germany, which beat Guinea 3-1 at Kochi in the other match of the day, finished second with six points, and will now travel to Delhi to play against Colombia in the knockout round.

While Iran, which topped this group, stays in Goa and will play against one of the third best teams from either Group A, B or F on October 17.

READ:  FIFA U-17 WC: Methodical Germany subdues Guinea to qualify

Keen to top the group, Asian powerhouse Iran employed five defenders and kept the rival attackers at bay, while finding the back of the net on three occasions.

After brief period of midfield battle, Iran slowly opened up the rival defence with raids from the flanks and Costa Rica started were panicky, conceded two penalties in a span of four minutes.

Amferny Arias, while going for an aerial ball, brought down Younes Delfi inside the box and referee Hamada Nampiandraza awarded the spot kick, which Iran captain Ghobeishavi converted by sending the ball to the bottom right corner.

Under tremendous pressure in the face of an Irani offensive, Costa Rica again conceded a penalty when defender Karin Arce needlessly pushed down Delfi while going for an aerial ball inside the box. On this occasion, defender Shariati had no problem converting it.

Costa Rica, which needed a win to keep themselves in fray for the knockouts, found the going tough and was not allowed space by the Iranian defenders.

After the break, Costa Rica coach Breansse Camacho brought his trump card Jose Alfaro in the hope of changing its fortunes, but to no avail.

Iran, who held the midfield superiority, rounded off the tally through Sardari’s strike off a through ball by Amirhossein Hosseinzadeh.

The only blip on the night for Iran was the loss of its no. 10 Ghobesishavi, who picked up a second yellow card of the tournament for a deliberate hand ball, for its round-of-16 match on Tuesday.

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