Fergana: Mohammad Hazbavi’s second half penalty secured Iran a 1-0 win over Qatar in their AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023 Group B match at the Istiqlol Stadium yesterday.
The win gives three-time winners Iran a head start in the race to advance to the quarter-finals while Qatar will have to defeat Vietnam next Saturday to keep their hopes alive.
Qatar, champions in 2014, started brightly with Ahmed Al Rawi forcing Iran goalkeeper Adib Zarei into making a save in the opening minute before seeing his long-range effort blocked eight minutes later.
Iran came close at the 10th minute through Mohammadreza Torabi’s effort, with the midfielder skipping past his marker inside the box before forcing a fine stop from Qatar custodian Amir Hassan Katoul.
Two minutes later, it was Milad Kor’s turn to get into the action when he shot just wide, before Iran brought the best out of Katoul in the 20th minute when the Qatari shotstopper denied Erfan Ghorbani and Saeid Saharkhizan from close range.
While Qatar toiled in midfield, Iran continued to miss clear-cut chances with Farhad Zavoshi failing to convert Saeid Saharkhizan’s cutback in the 23rd minute.
Iran dominated the closing stages of the first half with Saeid Saharkhizan and Amirreza Eslamtalab toiling in front of goal, while Qatar also saw Rashid Al Abdulla’s effort foiled as the teams went into the break level.
Qatar began the second half with purpose and gave Iran a scare in the 54th minute when Younis Mohammed found space just above the box, only to rifle his effort high off Rashid Al Abdulla’s lay-off.
Iran, however, persisted and were awarded a penalty in the 63rd minute when Zavoshi was brought down by Mohammed Mansour inside the six-yard-box with Mohammad Hazbavi sending Katoul the wrong way.
Iran should have doubled their advantage in the 70th minute when Mersad Seifi weaved his way through on the left flank before sending a wonderful cut-back to Zavoshi who, however, failed to connect in front of a gaping goalmouth.
Qatar pursued the equaliser but their efforts fell flat with Al Rawi failing to find the target from distance, before the Qatari No 11 saw his attempt from inside the box go to waste.
Source : The Peninsula