Iran, Tajikistan qualify for final round

Kathmandu, 13 Oct 2009 - Defending champions Iran and Tajikistan qualified for the final round of AFC U-16 Championship as the winner and the runners up from group ´B´ on Tuesday. Iran defeated Bahrain 2-0 and Tajikistan hammered the hosts Nepal 4-0 during the last day of the tournament held at the Dasharath Stadium on Tuesday.

Both Iran and Tajikistan have accumulated equal 10 points and scored 10 goals each but Iran topped the group on the basis of cards conceded. Iran has got six and Bahrain seven yellow cards in the entire tournament.

The hosts Nepal which has came up with poor performance in the entire tournament has its dreams unfulfilled of adding a single point and scoring a single goal. Tajikistan controlled the match from the beginning against the physically weak and short opponents and made more than a dozen good moves in the tournament.

Sultonov Tolibjon gave an early lead to the Tajikistan in the eighth minute utilizing defensive error. Tajiks have to wait until second half to score another. The second goal came from Muhtojzoda Ibrohimi in the 64th minute through superb free-kick from the edge of the box. Tajiks were awarded with the free-kick after Nepali defender took down Tajik player.

Likewise, substitute Rajabalizoda Komron netted the third goal in the 74th minute from inside the box utilizing a cross pass off Abdugafarov Oybek from the right corner. Similarly, skipper Ruslov Dilshod scored the last goal through a powerful strike from the box after beating four Nepali defenders.

Tajikistan´s Ibrohimi missed a penalty in the injury time as his strike went out hitting the pole. They were awarded with penalty after Manoj Bista Chhetri took down Ibrohimi in the box.

Satisfied with the team´s performance Tajikistan coach Babaev Joir said, “The team played well.” Remarking about Nepal´s performance he said, “Nepal played good football but the weak built body and short height are the main drawbacks for the team.”

Nepali coach Dambar Gurung dissatisfied with the team´s poor run in the tournament said he failed in his aim and blamed weak built up of the players, lack of match experience and footballing sense, absence of seriousness and weak finishing line up for the poor results.

“None of the players have footballing sense; they could not learn what I taught them,” said dissatisfied Gurung.

Earlier, in the first match of the day, despite good performance, Iran were able to take the lead only in 44th minute with Captain Fathian Ali´s goal against Bahrain who needed a must win to advance in the final round. Ali scored a penalty shot towards the lower right corner of the net. Bahrain was penalized as Mohammad Rabeea blocked the ball inside the box with his hand while Iranian team were about to strike.

Abbas Aeinechi scored the second goal in 58th minute from within the box, just a few moments before Najafi Damirchi stood outside the ground ready to replace Abbas.

Iran dominated the match with more than a dozen attacks most of which were saved by heroics of Bahrain goalkeeper Jasim Mohamed.

Bahrain missed an opportunity to score in the first minute. Khadin Ebrahim had a good chance to score as Iranian defenders were not around the post but Iranian goalkeeper Khan Alizade saved Ebrahim´s shot.

Besides the first attempt, Bahrain made very few attempts to score. Meanwhile, Iran´s coach Mohamadi Akbar was still not satisfied with the team´s finishing. “We got lots of opportunities, but we missed,” he said. He rated Tajikistan as the toughest opponent for them. Akbar also expressed confidence about winning the final round.

AFC U-16 Group B Final Points Table


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