The Guardian's Joy of Six: #1 Alireza Beiranvand

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    The Guardian's Joy of Six: #1 Alireza Beiranvand

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    1) Alireza Beiranvand (Naft Tehran 2-1 Tractor Sazi, November 2014)
    Alireza Beiranvand is no one-trick pony – his form for Naft Tehran was good enough for him to be named in the team of the season at the end of the 2014-15 Persia Gulf Pro League campaign – but he has one particularly potent weapon: he can throw the ball further than most humans can kick it. Though goalkeeper assists are a rarity, in the middle of the 2014-15 season he set up two winning goals in as many games, one with a giant kick and another with one of his ludicrously long throws. The second, booted downfield, took a hefty bounce, and with the Persepolis goalkeeper tempted towards the edge of his area in anticipation of an easy catch, Amir Arsalan Motahari headed over the stranded Brazilian and into the net. It was a classic of the genre even if the timing, in the last minute of a match heading towards a 1-1 draw, set it apart.

    The Joy of Six: goalscoring goalkeepers
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    The first was a genuine mouth-agape moment (at 1hr 34m 25s): Tractor Sazi win a corner, which is played short and then looped miserably into the goalkeeper’s hands. Without breaking stride, Beiranvand carries the ball to the edge of the area and then swings his mighty right arm. On the halfway line, the striker Gholamreza Rezaei, the only Tehran player left upfield, starts sprinting goalwards with two panicked defenders in his slipstream; the ball drops over his shoulder, bounces amenably, and from fully 40 yards Rezaei volleys a vicious, dipping shot that bounces past an astonished Hamed Lak and nestles into the corner of the net. Beiranvand received his first international cap the following month, and remains Iran’s first-choice shot-stopper even though, since that creative burst in late 2014, there have been no further assists. SB

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