An international derby if ever there was one. Although Iraq are the reigning champions, Both teams were evenly matched, after going behind Iran rallied well to come back and pick up the three points.

Iraq created the first chance of the game when a lovely flick sent Younus Mahmood through on goal, Iran keeper Mahdi Rahmati was out quickly and he saved well from Mahmood’s shot.

And it was Iraq that took the deserved lead a deep cross to the back post, poor positioning from the centre backs and the goalkeeper saw them caught out when Imad Mohammed headed the ball back across goal, Younus Mahmood slide in to put his side ahead.

Mohammed Kassid in the Iraq net was then called upon to keep his team ahead. Iman Mobali swung in a free kick defender Hada Aghili got his header on target but it wasn’t good enough to beat Kassid.

Just before half time Iran brought the game level a superbly weighted through ball by Anderanil Teymourian saw Gholam Reza Rezaei sprang the offside trap and with all the time in the world he picked his spot and placed his shot by Kassid.

Not much to report from the second half to be honest, well apart from the winning goal. With six minutes to go Samer Saeed gave away a stupid free-kick. Mobali took it from the left with his right foot, curled in dangerously it seemed to evade everyone, keeper no where to be seen and he got embarrassed as the ball squeeked through his legs.

The comeback complete for Iran and a great win against the 2007 Champions. Iraqi coach Wolfgang Sidka was unhappy with the way his side gave the ball away.

“It was as expected a tough match from two teams,” said the German coach.

“The game was one of the toughest and most exciting matches here and there was a lot of fighting spirit shown in the game.

“I think that Iran played very well and it was a match of the same level. We created some chances and for me it was a 50/50 game.

“However, what we missed today was ball retention and it was difficult to pass the ball around because Iran put pressure on us in the second half.”

The group is still wide open after one set of game, all still to play for.


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