Art And Culture

Hotshot Azmoun Puts Iran Among 8 Teams

Hotshot Azmoun Puts Iran Among 8 TeamsHotshot Azmoun Puts Iran Among 8 Teams

Sardar Azmoun’s individual brilliance ensured Iran and the United Arab Emirates will meet in Brisbane on Monday to determine who will claim top spot in Group C of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 after Team Melli defeated Qatar 1-0 at Stadium Australia on Thursday evening.

According to the AFC Asian Cup website, the 20-year-old Rubin Kazan striker has been linked with top Premier League clubs Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool and it was easy to see why on the evidence of his stunning second-half strike at the ANZ Stadium, when he took a pass from the lively Ashkan Dejagah with his back to goal, spun the defender Almahdi Ali with a sharp turn and kept his composure to apply a right-footed finish.

The 52nd minute effort was greeted with raucous relief by the thousands of Iranian fans in the Sydney suburbs, who had created a carnival atmosphere at the stadium from the moment the teams entered the field. A crowd of 22,672 travelled out to Stadium Australia, with the vast majority backing Iran and turning the iconic venue into a mini Azadi Stadium.

The result means the 2014 Gulf Cup champions Qatar are out of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 having previously lost their opening game 4-1 against the UAE.

 Brilliant Goal

Speaking after the match, Team Melli Coach Carlos Queiroz claimed Azmoun is as good as any striker he has worked with in his long and illustrious coaching career. Former Real Madrid and Manchester United coach compared the talented 20-year-old to Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and said, “Brilliant goal, it was a special movement of the center forward to make a great turn at the level of some of the best center forwards I have worked with in my life, like Ruud van Nistelrooy. He has a great future in front of him.”

Earlier on Thursday, in another Group C match played at Canberra Stadium, the fastest goal ever in AFC Asian Cup history was scored by Ali Mabkhout from the UAE just within 14 seconds of kick-off. Followed by a second-half own goal by Mohamed Hussain, the UAE gained a 2-1 victory over Bahrain and headed to the next round.

 Bahrain Out

Bahrain was eliminated from the tournament, following their defeat on Sunday to Iran. Iran and the UAE will lock horns in Brisbane on Monday to determine who will finish top of the group.

Hamza Al Dardour became only the fourth player in the history of the AFC Asian Cup to score four goals in a single game as Jordan kept their knockout stage hopes alive with a resounding 5-1 win over Palestine in Group D on Friday at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

In Group D’s other game, man of the match Keisuke Honda’s penalty helped Japan to their second straight victory as the defending champions eked out a 1-0 win over Iraq. Japan’s qualification for the quarter-finals rests on their last first round game on Tuesday in Melbourne against the Jordanians, who are third behind Iraq on goal difference.