Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Iran crowned AFC U-16 champion

Iran has claimed a maiden AFC U-16 Championship title with a 2-1 win over 10-man South Korea at Pakhtakor Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

On an overcast day in the Uzbek capital on Saturday, Korea goalkeeper Kim Tae-sung - making just his second appearance of the tournament in place of Kwon Tae-ahn - saved Mehrdad Yeganeh's 25-yard bullet after five minutes.

Iran were nearly handed the breakthrough after 29 minutes as a long forward ball caught the Korean defense flat-footed but, after nipping in behind the backline, Kaveh Rezaei could only lift the ball over a stranded Kim Tae-sung and the crossbar.

Korea were reduced to 10 men 13 minutes before the break as Kim Dae-kwang, who was making his first start of the tournament, collected a second yellow card from Uzbekistan referee Valentin Kovalenko after picking up the first after just nine minutes.

And Iran capitalized on their advantage six minutes later as Mohsen Talebaat picked up the ball just inside the Korea half, flicked it past Lee Dong-nych, before surging into the area and slotting it under an advancing Kim Tae-sung.

Korea coach Lee Kwang-jong introduced Son Heung-min shortly after the break and the move almost paid off as Lee Jong-ho met his cross a minute before the hour mark but watched as his glancing header drifted past the post with Iran goalkeeper Iman Sadeghi caught flatfooted.

But with Korea pressing for an equaliser, Iran doubled their lead three minutes later as Rezaei ran at Korea captain Rim Chang-woo, skipped past the center-back's challenge before calmly finishing past a badly positioned Kim Tae-sung.

Iran continued their dominance in the closing stages, but in the last minute before time Lee Chang fired under Iman Sadeghi from close range.

The win ensured Iran progressed through the entire competition from the qualifying stage with a clean record after winning all 10 games, scoring 31 goals and conceding just three.

Adapted from:
Press TV

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