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Iran hammers Uzbekistan to cruise into AFC Futsal Championship final

The Iran men’s national futsal team (file photo)

The Iran men’s national futsal team, domestically known as Team Melli Futsal, has proudly marched into the final showdown of the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal Championship, after it trounced Uzbekistan in a semi-final fixture.

On Friday, the Persians defeated the Central Asians 7-1 in a match staged at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City.

The Iranian side put pressure on the opponents from the beginning, and kept Uzbeks in their half.

Iran’s endeavors to open the scoring paid off early, and Mahdi Javid found the back of the net with his strike to the bottom left corner in the third minute.

A minute later, Uzbekistan mounted a counter-attack but without full force. They were stunned when Iran’s Ahmad Esmaeilpour regained possession of the ball. He surged the ball down the flank before passing it off to skipper Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh, who produced a fine finish and doubled his lead.

The defending champion exhibited its prowess once again in the 11th minute as Hossein Tayebi buried the ball in the back of the net, and made it 3-0.

Javid added two more goals to his name in the 15th and 16th minutes, and completed his hat-trick with back-to-back goals.

Uzbekistan returned with aggression in the second half, and played a number of passes in the hope of limiting Iran’s chances.

It was in the 31st minute that Hassanzadeh earned his second with a simple tap in, and put Team Melli Futsal 6-0 ahead. Tayebi also netted his brace of the match four minutes later.

Uzbekistan’s Anaskhon Rakhmatov scored a consolation goal in the last 20 seconds of the match.

“Our main target was the final. Our work has now begun after this game. Everyone in Asia expected us to reach the final. We are third in the world, and we have to live up to expectations,” Iran’s Head Coach Mohammad Nazemasharieh said after the match.

Uzbekistan’s Head Coach Bakhodir Akhmedov said , “Iran played really strongly today. Our first half performance was really bad, but in the second half we improved. I’m devastated by the loss, but we will try to improve as we start our preparations for the match against Iraq.”

The Iran men’s national futsal team will play Japan in the final match on Sunday, while Uzbekistan will play Iraq in the third place play-off.

The 2018 AFC Futsal Championship, which is the 15th edition of the games, opened on February 1 and will close on February 11 in Chinese Taipei.

Team Melli Futsal holds a record of 11 championship titles, and the team has enjoyed much success in recent years.

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