Persianfootball.com – ABU DHABI, Iran lived up to the highest expectations, when Team Melli ouclassed Asian Cup debutants Yemen 5-0 in group D’s opener on Monday. A brace from Mehdi Taremi, further goals from Sardar Azmoun and Saman Ghoddos, as well as an owngoal crowned a great display against an opponent inferior in any aspect.
Carlos Queiroz surprised on two positions, bringing on veteran Ashkan Dejagah as starting midfielder beside Omid Ebrahimi and Vahid Amiri and Mehdi Torabi as right winger, beside Azmoun and Taremi.
The Iranian team barely left any doubt on their willingness to achieve a clear result from the beginning and came close soon, when Mehdi Taremi’s shot from outside the box could only be cleared to a corner by goalkeeper Al Sowadi.
But soon afterwards Al Sowadi was beaten in two attempts, when Azmoun unleashed a good shot from similar position and Taremi easily slotted home the rebound from close range, 12 minutes into the game.
Iran doubled the lead when Ashkan Dejagah hammered a free-kick from far out against the goalpost, just to see the ball bounce of Al Sowadi’s head into the own net after 23 minutes. It should be the first of three times that Iran would hit the goalpost – Azmoun and Torabi being unlucky with their efforts in second half.
Team Melli added a third just two minutes later, when Taremi rose above his marker to head home a perfect Ramin Rezaeian cross, who had been given the nod instead of Vouria Ghafouri as starting right-back.
Iran had a few more chances before the break, while Yemen only in the early minutes had shown some glimpses of dangerousness.
Second half started without full-back Majid Hosseini, who’s highlight had been a wreckless challenge on an opponent so far. The Trabzonspor defender, who was lucky to escape without any card, was replaced by veteran Pejman Montazeri.
Iran continued to press, dominate and creat chances and got a fourth goal when the today strong but mostly unlucky Sardar Azmoun scored his third ever Asian Cup goal, when slotting home a loose ball from close range after a corner kick after 53 minutes.
Despite many more chances being created by Iran it looked like both sides eventually would settle with a 4-0, but substitute attacker Saman Ghoddos had different plans and netted a beautiful volley from outside the area, 12 minutes from time.
Iran will next face Vietnam on Saturday, who will kick off their Asian Cup campaign against Iraq on Tuesday.
Iran – Yemen 5-0
Asian Cup 2019, Group D
1-0 Mehdi Taremi (12′ / assist by Sardar Azmoun)
2-0 Saoud Al Sowadi (23′ / own goal)
3-0 Mehdi Taremi (25′ / Ramin Rezaeian)
4-0 Sardar Azmoun (53′ / Mehdi Taremi)
5-0 Saman Ghoddos (78′ / Morteza Pouraliganji)
Iranian players booked: Ramin Rezaeian (39′ / foul)
Iran’s lineup: Beiranvand – Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, Hosseini (46′ Montazeri), Hajsafi – Ebrahimi – Dejagah, Amiri (60′ Ghoddos) – Torabi, Taremi (71′ Ansarifard) – Azmoun