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AFC Women’s Futsal Championship: Iran Beats China, Advances to Semis
AFC Women’s Futsal Championship: Iran Beats China, Advances to Semis

AFC Women’s Futsal Championship: Iran Beats China, Advances to Semis

Iran will meet Vietnam in Thursday’s semifinals, while China’s promising tournament ends at the quarterfinal stage

AFC Women’s Futsal Championship: Iran Beats China, Advances to Semis

Reigning champion Iran passed its first real test of the tournament to advance to the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship final four with a 4-2 win over China in a high quality quarterfinal on Wednesday in Bangkok.
Goals by Tian Jiao and Zhang Yue had the East Asians 2-1 ahead on the verge of half-time, but a Fereshteh Karimi-led Iran took the lead in the first minute of the second half and closed the game out with a late Sara Shirbeigi goal, the AFC reported.
Shahrzad Mozafar’s charges will now meet Vietnam in Thursday’s semifinals, while China’s promising tournament ends at the quarterfinal stage.
Iran had piled up 23 goals in its previous two matches, and in the opening moments Karimi and Shirbegi both went close to score goals.
Karimi gave the reigning champion an early lead when she fired home from a free-kick in the second minute, but China took just a minute to respond, as Tian Jiao met Zeng Qingqing’s inch perfect cross to fire home a wonderful header.
A number of saves from Zhang Meini kept the scores level before Zhang Yue beat a defender, played a one-two with Tian and fired the ball into the roof of the net to put China 2-1 ahead in the ninth minute.
Seyyedeh Nastaran Moqimi forced Zhang Meini into her best save yet in the 13th minute, but the Chinese shot-stopper’s miscalculation three minutes later allowed a scuffed Nasimeh Gholami shot to find its way into the net from close range. 
Both Karimi, who saw a shot cleared off the goal line by Liu Duan, and Ma Yiming, who missed the target, had good chances to give their side the half-time lead, but the sides remained locked at 2-2.
Iran began the second period better and regained the lead when Karimi passed up a chance to shoot in order to expertly assist Fatemeh Etedadi, who slammed home an emphatic seventh goal of the tournament.
Karimi continued to cause problems for Hu Jie’s side and only Zhang’s two superb 26th minute saves kept the one-goal margin intact, while China struggled to reproduce the attacking threat the squad posed in the early stages of the match.
Iran extended its lead to two goals for the first time when Fahimeh Zarei teed up Shirbeigi to make it 4-2 with four minutes remaining and - despite the best efforts of China - seal a crucial victory.

 

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