Art And Culture

Team Melli Starts World Cup With 2-0 Win Over Qatar

 Iran's national soccer team Iran's national soccer team

Iran national soccer team beat Qatar with two very late goals in their first match for the 2018 World Cup qualification round at Azadi Stadium in Tehran late Thursday.

Goals by Reza Ghoochannejad and Alireza Jahanbaksh secured the 2-0 win for Team Melli, a good start in their attempt to advance to Russia 2018, Varzesh3 reported.

Both goals were scored in the last moments of the game with the first coming from Ghoochannejad in the extra time (at 94 minutes) and the second by Jahanbakhsh, a few minutes later (at 100 minutes).

Ghoochannejad made the best of a horrendous mistake by Qatar goalkeeper Amine Lacomte to give the home side the lead four minutes into injury time before Jahanbaksh put the result beyond doubt with a very impressive shot outside the box.

"We had a very difficult game", said Iran's Portuguese head coach, Carlos Queiroz. "It was a tense and highly tactical match. It was obvious that Qatar was looking to take advantage of our weaknesses in the first half; therefore we had a difficult first half. We tried to open up the game in the second half and put Qatar under more pressure. We had better scoring chances in the second half and played better."

"The Qatari side was a good team because it is well organized and they have good players. To be able to win the match, we had to fully focus and keep our opponents under pressure until the very last moment. We forced them to retreat," Queiroz added.

Close to 80,000 spectators watched the match at Azadi Stadium and their positive energy to the three-time FIFA World Cup qualifier was also influential in gaining the full three points for the national team. Iran will face China on Tuesday for their second match of the round in the Chinese city of Shenyang. South Korea beat China 3-2 in their first match on Thursday.