The Iran men’s national futsal team, domestically known as Team Melli Futsal, has vigorously ended its campaign at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal Championship, and defended its title as the champion of the continental tournament.
The Iranian squad blanked the East Asians 4-0 in the final showdown of the event at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City.
Both teams began the battle as expected, playing a high pressure game with intense marking from the first blow of the whistle.
Iranian skipper Mahdi Javid came dangerously close in the opening minutes, when his effort struck the goal frame.
Iran and Japan national futsal teams were evenly matched and had their fair share of ball possession until a minute from the half-time whistle.
Iran’s 29-year-old striker Farhad Tavakoli Roozbahani intercepted a long-range pass by Japan’s goalkeeper Higor Pires, and rolled the ball down the left flank before sending a neat pass to teammate Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh.
Hassanzadeh then unleashed a fine shot to the bottom right, and gave Iran the lead.
Shortly after the break, Tavakoli made no mistake from close range to double Iran’s lead in the 21st minute.
Ahmad Esmaeilpour displayed spectacular individual skills in the 29th minute, when he dribbled through the Japanese defense before passing it to Hassanzadeh, who finished superbly and netted his brace.
Despite numerous attempts to pull back a goal, Japan’s efforts did not pay off. Hossein Tayyebi Bidgoli shot into an unguarded goalmouth in the final minute, and sealed Iran’s 4-0 convincing victory.
Earlier in the day, Uzbekistan clinched the third place, defeating Iraq 2-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the exciting play-off ended 4-4.
The 2018 AFC Futsal Championship, which was the 15th edition of the games, opened on February 1 and closed on February 11 in Chinese Taipei.