AFC – HO CHI MINH CITY: Hossein Tayebi and Vahid Shafiei both scored hat-tricks as 10-time champions Iran secured a place in the AFC Futsal Championship final against defending champions Japan after recording an eye-catching 10-0 win over Uzbekistan at Phu Tho Stadium on Thursday.
Alireza Vafaei, Asghar Hassanzadeh, Ahmad Esmaeilpour and Mohammad Shajara also scored as Iran maintained their 100% tournament record, with the one-sided win securing an 11th AFC Futsal Championship final appearance.
Uzbekistan, who lost to Iran in the quarter-finals two years ago in the United Arab Emirates, had also reached the semi-finals with an unbeaten record but conceded five goals in each half and will now face Kuwait in Saturday’s third place play-off.
Having beaten hosts Vietnam in Wednesday’s quarter-final, Iran got off to a blistering start and took the lead after just 42 seconds when Vafaei stepped inside, and without being closed down, fired a shot into the corner of the goal.
Ghodrat Bahadori thought he had doubled the lead in the fourth minute but saw his long-range effort cannon off the crossbar.
But with Japan coach Miguel Rodrigo in the stands having seen his side beat Kuwait 6-1 earlier, the second did come 30 seconds later when Tayebi was found on the edge of the penalty area and he spun to score.
Tayebi then turned provider less than a minute later by cutting out goalkeeper Rustam Umarov for Hassanzadeh to pass the ball into the net.
And Iran further extended their lead in the seventh minute when Artur Yunusov pulled back on the shirt of Esmaeilpour to concede a free-kick, and he made no mistake with a low strike past Umarov.
Uzbekistan managed to stem the flow of goals and nearly found a response four minutes before half-time when Shuhrat Tojiboev found Davron Choriev from a corner, but his shot from point-blank range was blocked by goalkeeper Alireza Samimi.
Iran, though, continued to control the pace of the game after the restart and Shafiei got his second of the contest after 24 minutes when he was found in the area with his back to goal and he was able to spin his defender and drill the ball into the net.
Tayebi netted his second and Iran’s seventh when he turned Farhad Tavakoli’s cross past Umarov in the 27th minute to complete this third hat-trick of the tournament.
And after Shajari added a ninth in the 30th minute, Iran brought up double figures as Shafiei wrapped up his hat-trick when he was found open in the area by Esmaeilpour.