Art And Culture

Iran Beats UAE to Top Group C

Iran Beats UAE to Top  Group CIran Beats UAE to Top  Group C

Player of the Match Reza Ghoochannejhad's 91st-minute strike - his first goal of the tournament - dealt UAE their first defeat of 2015 AFC Asian Cup and allowed Iran to finish the group phase with the maximum nine points.

Both teams had already booked their place in the quarter-finals, the winner could have an easier path to the title as the first of Group C.

Although they had the possession in moments of the match and created some opportunities, UAE did not have a single shot 'on target' for the whole game; however, their coach Mahdi Ali believed that his team deserved at least one point from the match. UAE only needed a draw to move on to the quarter-finals as the group's first-place team as they were standing top of Iran on goal difference ahead of this game.

Iranian players Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Sardar Azmoun had plenty of chances to score in the first half but lack of care in finishing sent the two teams with no goals off the field at half time.

The match seemed destined to end in a draw until the final moments when the Iranian midfielder Andranik Teymourian tried to shoot but could not get his foot to the ball in time, however he got enough to chip it to Ghoochannejhad, who had come to the field as a substitute in the second half, and the striker headed it past the outstretched arms of Majed Naser.

"Now we have a full squad ready to make a run at the title, both tactically and mentally, as the young boys gained some experience and did very well," said Iran coach Carlos Queiroz after the game. Team Melli will face the runners-up of Group D, most likely Iraq, in the quarter-finals on Friday in Canberra while UAE play the Group D winners in Sydney - widely expected to be defending champions Japan.