Iran on target as N Korea hold UAE
Iran shattered Iraqi dreams in a 2-1 victory on Tuesday, while North
Korea were forced into a desperate rearguard action to hold off United
Arab Emirates as the Asian Cupís opening games wrapped up.
The Iranians stormed back from a goal down to beat their arch-rivals
and defending champions and now top Group D after North Korea and UAE
fought out a 0-0 stalemate.
Iman Mobali was the hero for Iran, his free-kick drifting in with six
minutes left for an emotional win that followed a period of silence
ahead of the game to honour 77 people who died on Sunday in an Iran
plane crash. After that sombre moment at Al-Rayyan Stadium, the game
between the two countries, who fought a war from 1980 to 1988, burst
Iraqi talisman Younis Mahmoud stunned Iran with the opener, sliding
in at the far post on 13 minutes to score from close range after Emad
Mohammed had cleverly nodded the ball back across goal.
It sparked the three-time champions into life and the equalisier came
on 42 minutes after former Bolton Wanderers man Andranik Teymourian
chipped the ball cleverly through to an unmarked Gholam Reza Rezai.
Rezai, who had just stayed onside, duly rifled the ball in for a
leveller they fully deserved before Mobaliís late intervention to get
the winner and break Iraqi hearts. Iraq now have their work cut out if
they want to defend the title they won against the odds in 2007, with
games against UAE on Saturday before a potential must-win encounter with
North Korea four days later.
UAE and North Korea couldnít find the net in their clash, but not for
want of trying. The Koreans, who reached the World Cup in South Africa
but lost all three games, withstood a barrage of UAE pressure throughout
the 90 minutes at the Qatar Sports Club Stadium. DOHA, AFP