AFC – ABU DHABI, Islamic Republic of Iran forward Mehdi Taremi is hoping that his side’s 5-0 win over Yemen in their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 opening encounter is just the start of things to come.
The 26-year-old Al Gharafa favourite scored twice on a night when the three-time Asian champions were rarely troubled by opponents making their debut in the competition as a unified nation.
Iran’s impressive victory saw them assume pole position in Group D, a flying start that Taremi believes will stand his side in good stead going forward.
“We are very grateful to have won the first game,” he said.
“The first game of any tournament is always very important as it is that game which gives you the motivation for the other matches [which are to come].
“We can now move on with a great win [to our name] and, hopefully, we will be able to continue in a similar manner.”
Taremi’s brace – the first a neat finish from close-range, and the second a powerful header – saw him sail to the top of the albeit embryonic goalscoring chart – a statistic the former Persepolis ace insists he already is paying little attention to.
“For us, the key thing is for the team to win,” he said.
“We don’t care who scores and who becomes the top scorer. Of course, as forwards, we have to score and must always be looking to score.
“However, I really don’t think about it that much because the priority is always for the team to win.”
The Iranians are next in action on Saturday when they face Vietnam at Abu Dhabi’s Al Nahyan Stadium, with Yemen set to face Iraq in Sharjah on the same day.