1972 Asian Championship Campaign

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    1972 Asian Championship Campaign

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    The 1972 Asian Championship took place with six participating teams. Thailand (who also had hosted the 1966 and 1970 Asian Games) played qualifying games prior to Israel withdrawing as hosts and Thailand stepping in instead. Other than defending champions Iran (coached by former player Ranjbar), Cambodia, Iraq, Kuwait and South Korea took part with them being split up in two groups of three for the first round. Given that the winner of this tournament was to be invited to take part in Brazil’s Minicopa, all teams were keen on claiming gold. In order to decide seeding, teams faced off against each other prior to the start of the tournament. Iran defeated Cambodia 2-0 with goals from Kalani and Iranpak to be placed in Group A with Thailand and Iraq.

    In the first game Iran defeated Iraq with a hattrick by Kalani. With Iraq and Thailand playing to a draw, Iran’s advancement to the semifinals was certain although their game against Thailand would determine their placement. It has been rumored that Iran had been approached to throw their game against Thailand. Defender Kashani claimed that the night before the game, Mostafa Makri, head of the Iranian Federation, had a meeting with Kashani and a few other players in their hotel room and requested that Iran lose the game against the hosts to ensure that they advance but the players pride and motivation prevented this plan to take place. Thailand initially appeared to be closing on a victory thanks to a double from Prapon Tantariyanond, leading 2-0 by the 70th minute. However, in the final ten minutes of the game, Jabbari took charge and scored a hattrick, giving Iran a 3-2 win and 1st place in the group.

    In the semifinals Iran disposed of Cambodia with a 2-1 score and goals by Iranpak and Ghelichkhani. The Final was against South Korea. Following a goalless first half, Jabbari broke the deadlock in the 48th minute although Park Lee-chun fired Korea Republic level and regulation ended in a 1-1 tie. In the 18th minute of overtime, Kalani scored what turned out to be the game winner. With the 2-1 victory, Iran earned its second Asian Championship while Kalani ended up as top scorer with five goals.

    Iran roster: Hejazi, Mavaddat, Kashani, Arab, Ashtiani, Kargarjam, Ghelichkhani, Monajati, Ghorab, Halvaei, Parvin, Jabbari, Sharafi, Mazloomi, Kalani, Iranpak. Coach: Ranjbar
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