Thursday, January 15, 2009


Iran v Singapore 6-0

Lions succumb to Iran
TEHRAN, 15 January 2009: Singapore's AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualification campaign suffered a rocky start as Group E favourites Iran claimed a comprehensive 6-0 victory at the Azadi Stadium.
Radojko Avramovic's side had started the game well, keeping a tight leash on the Iranians with a compact team setup that limited the hosts to long shots for much of the first half.

But the game took a dramatic turn in the 40th minute, when Ismail Yunos was shown the straight red card for a tackle from behind on midfielder Reza Khalatbari.

The Lions were still smarting from the right back's ejection when Majid Gholamnejad broke the deadlock three minutes later by latching on to a deflected clearance by Precious Emuejeraye before firing a powerful shot from the edge of the box that gave Lionel Lewis no chance.

Encouraged by the opening goal, Ali Daei's side, swarmed forward looking for another goal before the half time whistle and went close with Arash Borhani and Karim Bagheri but Singapore keeper was on hand to deny them further ahead before halftime.

However, within ten minutes of the restart the Iranians were 3-0 up. Skipper Bagheri tapped home from six yards out with a simple finish in the 52nd minute before Gholamreza Rezaei got onto the scoresheet himself after a neat lay off from Borhani a couple of minutes later.

Singapore valiantly rallied in an effort to stay in the game, but the three-time Asian Cup winners proved too strong as Maziar Zareh, given plenty of space outside the penalty area, rifled home a shot that narrowly eluded Lewis for the Iranians’ fourth.

Substitute Mohamad Nouri added two more within a span of two minutes late in the game to wrap up an emphatic win for the Iranians.

"This was a very heavy defeat for us but we played very well in the first half. Until the sending off, we were very organised and compact. We did not let them play,’ said coach Avramovic.

"But things were very difficult in the second half as we had one man down and against a good team like Iran, this makes a very big difference.

"They also had very physical and tall players and they took advantage of that as we had difficulty in dealing with their crosses," he added.

"I did not see the will in my players when we had possession of the ball. We defended well, especially in the first half, but when we got the ball we didn’t know what to do with it. None of the players wanted to get the ball and start an attack.

The Iranians pressed us and they constantly won the ball and we kept losing balls in places we shouldn’t have and this is one of the reasons why we lost this game,’ concluded Avramovic.

Line-up: Lionel Lewis (GK), Ismail Yunos, Baihakki Khaizan, Precious Emuejeraye, Daniel Bennett, Shahril Ishak (Juma'at Jantan 57'), Fahrudin Mustafic, Isa Halim, John Wilkinson (Agu Casmir 67'), Noh Alam Shah, Indra Sahdan (Ridhuan Muhammad 46')
Subs not used: Hassan Sunny, Shaiful Esah, Rosman Sulaiman, Mustaqim Manzur

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