National Iranian men’s soccer team has eased to their fourth straight win in the preliminary round of the 2013 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-22 Asian Championship in Melaka, Malaysia, as they defeat Tajikistan.
Ali Reza Mansourian’s men defeated Tajiks 2-0 at the Hang Jebat Stadium on Sunday to move points clear of other squads in their group, and announce that they are still a team to claim domination of football in Asia.
Payam Sadeghian opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty shoot-out before another goal from Yaghoub Karimi gave Iran a comfortable cushion going into the interval.
Both teams had a handful of good opportunities during the second half of the match to score goals. However, they missed their chances.
The Iranian soccer squad will face Bahrain on Tuesday.
A total of 41 teams have taken part in the 2013 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-22 Asian Championship. The games are held in seven groups, with six groups containing six teams and Group D consisting of five teams (Bangladesh, Jordan, Nepal, Uzbekistan and Yemen).
The top two teams from each group qualify to the 2013 Asian Championship finals together with the best third-placed team.
Iran is grouped with Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Qatar as well as Tajikistan, and is taking a solid lead atop Group C.
The AFC has noted that the new U-22 competition will serve as a qualifier for the Olympics replacing the Olympic Football Tournament Asian Qualifiers as the second biggest national team competition after the AFC Asian Cup.