Persianfootball.com – MELBOURNE, A hand injury sustained in Wednesday’s training session in Melbourne will cost Iranian veteran defender Hashem Beikzadeh the Asian Cup.
The 30-year-old Esteghlal full-back, who was supposed to also serve as fourth choice center-back in Carlos Queiroz’s Asian Cup squad, was declared unfit for the tournament by the team doctor and will be replaced by Persepolis defender Mohammad-Reza Khanzadeh.
The 23-year-old was asked to join the rest of Team Melli as soon as possible and already is on his way to Australia.
While right-footed Beikzadeh mostly plays as left- or right-back, he was tried out as center-back by Queiroz as well, most recently in the 1-0 friendly match victory over Iraq last Sunday.
Khanzadeh is frequently playing as center- or right full-back, but usually isn’t used on the left defensive side, where now Mehrdad Pouladi and Ehsan Hajsafi are the only regular options.
Mohammad-Reza Khanzadeh had almost replaced Beikzadeh in the 23-man World Cup squad in summer, but the latter recovered in time from a muscle injury. While Khanzadeh had to remain in Iran, Beikzadeh remained on the bench during all three group matches.
Iran will kick off their Asian Cup campaign versus Bahrain in Melbourne on Sunday.