Iranian footballers (in white) play against their Tajik rivals at the Hang Jebat Stadium of Melaka, Malaysia, on July 1, 2012.
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.