Clean Sweep for Iran Against Turkmenistan

The victory puts Iran atop Group D and should secure it a place in the knockout stage of the competition
Iran hammered Turkmenistan 14-0.Iran hammered Turkmenistan 14-0.

Iran began the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 title defense with an emphatic 14-0 win over Turkmenistan on Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand.

As expected from the title holder, Iran showed its prowess from the first blow of the whistle with Fatemeh Etedadi finding the back of the net just seven seconds into the game, courtesy of Fereshteh Karimi’s pass into the box, wrote.

After conceding the early goal, Turkmenistan tried to play a more compact game, tightening the defenses as Iran had free reign of the ball.

Kamil Mingazov’s side showed moments of brilliance, pushing the Asian champion back into its half, but Iran eventually doubled the lead when Turkmenistan goalkeeper Malika Eminova blocked Fereshteh Khosravi’s shot but the ball fell right in front of Fahimeh Zarei for a simple finish, before scoring her second of the night moments after the restart.

Karimi etched her name on the scoresheet in the eighth minute, before Etedadi earned her second 12 minutes into the game from a set-piece, shooting into the top left goal.

After four fouls, Turkmenistan players were more hesitant in their movement, which Iran exploited and Fatemeh Papi made it 6-0 in the 16th minute, while Karimi increased her personal tally to two goals within the same minute.

Iranians showed they were not just deadly in their set-pieces, as every player had the ability to score from distance and Nastaran Moqimi unleashed a crackling strike two minutes from the half-time whistle to give Iran an eight-goal lead going into the break.

Karimi completed her hat-trick three minutes into the restart, and Arezoo Sadaqianizadeh pushed the scoreline to 10 when she intercepted a pass forward and her left-footed strike gave no time for Eminova to react.

The tournament debutant, however, continued working hard in defense but Sara Shirbeigi scored again for Iran in the 32nd minute, after a quick one-two between her and Papi in the final third.

Etedadi scored in the 35th and 38th minutes, before Zarei ended proceedings in the final minute of the game to power Iran to a 14-0 win.

 Confident of Winning

“I am totally satisfied with the players’ performance. We wouldn’t have guessed that result in advance but we believed in ourselves and we knew that we would win this game. I’m happy about the score and I’m totally satisfied with this as a first step,” said Shahrzad Mozaffar, Iran’s head coach.

Kamil Mingazov, Turkmenistan’s head coach, also commented, “Iran is the defending champion and it’s really hard to play against it. The quality of Iranian players is much higher than ours since our team is quite young and has only been around for one or two years. We didn’t have international friendly games before this so it is quite hard, but hopefully in the next game we will improve.”

The victory puts Iran top of Group D and should secure it a place in the knockout stage of the competition.

Turkmenistan will hope to bounce back from a damaging debut defeat when it meets Uzbekistan in the second match on Saturday.

China and Japan both began their Group C campaigns with comfortable victories against Bahrain and Lebanon.

The Chinese team recovered after conceding a goal in the first minute to Bahrain to secure a 5-2 victory. Japan was able to complete a 5-1 win over Lebanon to sit atop the group. The top two teams from each group will advance.

The 2018 AFC Women’s Futsal Championship is the second edition of the biennial international tournament organized by the Asian Football Confederation for the women’s national teams of Asia.

The event, featuring 15 teams, is being held in Thailand during May 2-12.

The competition serves as a qualifying round for the futsal tournament at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the winner and the runner-up qualifying for the girls’ tournament, to be represented by their U-18 representative teams.

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