1984 Asian Championship Campaign

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    1984 Asian Championship Campaign



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    Without facing any international opposition in between the qualifiers and the finals (other than a couple of non official games against a Bulgarian club team), Iran arrived in Singapore to face China, India, North Korea and UAE in their group. On paper Iran seemed the better team and demonstrated it by a zigzagging Mohammadkhani dribble that put him through five players before unleashing a shot that the keeper saved. In the 27th minute Mohammadkhani would intercept a UAE pass and feed Alidoosti who would make no mistake in opening the score. In the second half a quick play by Changiz on the endline nearly resulted in a goal although the UAE defense cleared before Mohammadkhani could put away the pass. The UAE would hit the post twice although Hajiloo would retaliate by rattling their crossbar with a long range shot. UAE’s best chance would be an open header from close range that would go wide. In the 85th minute Changiz fed a through-ball to Mohammadkhani who was taken down in the box before managing his shot. Shahrokh Bayani would bury the shot to give Iran a 2-0 lead. Two minutes later Mohammadkhani perfectly timed his run to receive a pass from Mokhtarifar, circled the keeper and shot into an empty net to give Iran a 3-0 win. The only down side of the match was the injury that Alidoosti suffered that would keep him off the field for the remaining games.




    The next game would be against China. In the first 20 minutes Iran tested the Chinese keeper with two shots, one from each Bayani brother, but was unable to open the scoring. In the second half, Mokhtarifar dribbled towards the box only to be brought down by the Chinese defense. Mohammadkhani took the kick and curled it over the wall and into the goal to give Iran the lead in the 57th minute. In the 69th minute Shahin Bayani floated a free kick into the box which the Chinese cleared only for it to fall to Arabshahi. From well outside the box Arabshahi unleashed a thunderous kick beyond the reach of the keeper to double Iran’s lead. Iran came close to scoring a third goal but Ahadi’s shot from inside the box hit the side netting for the game to end 2-0 for Iran. The Chinese were criticized for their tactical boredom and off-target shooting while the keeper was singled out as showing his inexperience in conceding two savable goals.



    With the two harder games of the group out of the way, qualification seemed certain although ironically it was against the weaker teams of the group that Iran would struggle. Against India, Iran squandered many chances, particularly by Changiz, the best of them being his shot that bounced off of the goalpost. The game would end in a scoreless draw.



    The final group game would be against hosts Singapore. Hajiloo, Derakhshan, Changiz, Shahrokh Bayani, Mokhtarifar, Arabshahi and Fathabadi each had chances to give Iran the lead but ultimately it was a foul in the box on Shahrokh Bayani in the 55th minute that resulted in Iran’s goal. Bayani himself would take the penalty kick and send the keeper the wrong way to give Iran the lead. The lead would only last six minutes. In a rare attack, Singapore crossed the ball into Iran’s box. Mirakhori was beaten in the air for Singapore to head their equalizer past Soltani. Following the goal Iran had a few more chances to reclaim the led, the best of which was Changiz’s shot from the edge of the six-yard box but ultimately the game would end in a 1-1 tie.



    With this tie Iran finished in second place behind China. There were rumors that Iran had intentionally underperformed in its last two games in order to avoid Kuwait in the semifinals. The rumors seemed to hold little weight as Kuwait only dropped to second place in its group on the final day, a full day after Iran’s game against Singapore. Furthermore, China only claimed first place in the group due to its final game against UAE, a 5-0 thrashing. Fewer goals, or perhaps a draw or Chinese loss, would have given Iran first place in the group. At the completion of the first round games, Iran would be play the top team of Group A, Saudi Arabia, in the semifinals.

    Iran would threaten the Saudi goal early and often with Mokhtarifar and Hajiloo getting some early shots in. Following an acrobatic scissor kick by Changiz, Mohammadkhani had a chance to open the scoring but his shot from close range went high. With the first half coming to a close, Changiz chased a loose ball in the box, beat the keeper to it and squared it for Shahrokh Bayani who would score into an empty net to give Iran a 1-0 lead. In the second half Bayani would become provider as his header would send Mohammadkhani on a breakaway but with just to keeper to beat his shot would sail high. Late in the first half, Ebrahimi would do a controversial substitution by bringing on Ahadi for Mohammadkhani, a move for which he would claim was due to Mohammadkhani’s persisting injury. Saudi came close to scoring off of a corner kick which Shahin Bayani saved off of the line. With only two minutes left in regulation, the Saudies sent a cross into the box which bounced off of a Saudi head. Shahin Bayani’s mishit clearance went in as an own goal and tied the game. Ebrahimi would later defend his substitution, claiming that not only did Mohammadkhani need the rest due to his injury, but also it was a matter of changing tactics and killing the clock. He also defended Shahin Bayani, expressing that other than the mistaken clearance, he had had an excellent game and as a vote of confidence in him, refused to substitute him after the own goal. Extra time had no further goals and with three minutes left till a shootout, Iran replaced Soltani with Tahooni, a better penalty kick stopper. In spite of this substitution, the Saudies scored all five of their penalty kicks and combined with Panjali’s miss, Iran would head to the third place game.




    An unmotivated Iran would face Kuwait in the third place match. Kuwait would take the lead in the 26th minute by sliding a shot under Soltani. Late in the game an attack initiating in midfield was ultimately stopped by the keeper from close range only for the rebound to fall to Mohammadkhani who tied the game with his shot into an empty net. The game would go to penalty kicks with Mokhtarifar the only player missing his shot and thus Iran taking fourth place.





    At the end of the tournament China was given the fair play award although not without controversy. Iran had seemingly been favorites but, as the award was sponsored by cognac producer Remy Martin, Iran had told organizers they wouldn’t accept it. To avoid awkward scenes at the closing ceremony, the AFC therefore handed the award to China. In response to this denial of public acknowledgement, Iran retaliated by boycotting the whole ceremony. As the team boarded their bus to go back to their hotel, Mohammadkhani, who was the joint top scorer with Shahrokh Bayani and a Chinese player, recalls repeatedly being called by the loudspeakers to accept his Golden Boot award. Eventually the award would be given to the Chinese player. Years later Mohammadkhani would express regret over not collecting his award even if it was a decision that was forced upon him.

    Iran roster: Soltani, Tahooni, Shahin Bayani, Hajiloo, Sanjari, Panjali, Shakourzadeh, Mirakhori, Arabshahi, Shahrokh Bayani, Ahadi, Maraghechian, Derakhshan, Mokhtarifar, Fathabadi, Alidoosti, Changiz, Mohammadkhani. Coach: Ebrahimi
    I went to Sharif University. I'm a superior genetic mutation, an improvement on the existing mediocre stock.
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    KC must be awarded a golden Doodool for these amazing threads.

    I am serious

    thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hadi View Post
    KC must be awarded a golden Doodool for these amazing threads.

    I am serious

    thanks
    I have done one of these for every Asian Games, Asian Championship/qualifiers, Olympics/qualifiers and World Cup/qualifiers that we have taken part in since 1951 (and currently up to 1984) although I've only posted a few of them. Hopefully it will make our younger members realize our soccer did not start in 1997+.
    I went to Sharif University. I'm a superior genetic mutation, an improvement on the existing mediocre stock.
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    Another enjoyable read.
    Have you done one for 1980?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokhodi View Post
    Another enjoyable read.
    Have you done one for 1980?
    Yes I have although I haven't posted it on PFDC.
    I went to Sharif University. I'm a superior genetic mutation, an improvement on the existing mediocre stock.
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