Persianfootball.com – ABU DHABI, Iranian striking gem Sardar Azmoun scored both goals, as Iran booked a second well deserved win in the 2019 Asian Cup, this time a 2-0 victory over Vietnam, to book a certain berth in the knockout stage with one game in hand.
However, regardless of Iraq’s result against Yemen, the final match will be decisive to determine the group winner, as direct duel is the primary tie-breaker in group stage. Shouldn’t Iraq win 6-0 or higher, Iran will only need a draw to secure the top spot and a probably easier 1/8 final opposition.
Three changes, one surprise in starting lineup
Carlos Queiroz made three changes to his previous starting lineup, bringing on goalscorer Saman Ghoddos instead of Mehdi Torabi on the right wing, Vouria Ghafouri for Ramin Rezaeian on the right defensive side and, somewhat surprisingly, Hossein Kanaanizadegan for Majid Hosseini alongside Morteza Pouraliganji in central defense.
Iran of course dominated the proceedings from the early beginning, but other than Yemen, Vietnam proved to be harder to crack, as they often defenden with 11 men behind the ball and barely taking any risks.
Nevertheless, Iran created a handful of half-chances and three very good ones before the interval – two shots from Azmoun from the edge of the area and a 100%er, when Ashkan Dejagah sent Ghoddos through on goal, but the Amiens attacker’s effort could be denied by the goalkeeper’s knee.
So it was up to Azmoun to break the deadlock, seven minutes before halftime, when both new starters combined on the right. Ghafouri dribbled past his opponent and sent a good pass to Ghoddos, and Iran’s number 14’s cross found Azmoun on the far post, who nodded home with ease. It was the first time the Vietnam defense was caught off-guard.
Second half saw a more offensive Vietnamese side, and Iran seemed to struggle a bit with the decision wether to sit back a bit and defend the lead or to push for a second. The South East Asian’s could therefore create a few dangerous situations and even came close to scoring, but failed to beat Alireza Beiranvand.
And it was again Azmoun who stepped up to decide the match. Substitute winger Mehdi Torabi took a run down the center of the field and passed the ball to the Rubin Kazan striker, who turned, got rid of two markers with a good move and beat the keeper with a clinical left-footed finish from just inside the area. It was the thrid goal of the tournament for Azmoun, who is now leading the goalscorer chart.
Iran looked more and more lacklustre, but remained the better and more dangerous side and was able to bring home the second consecutive win with ease.
Yet, the occassionally sloppy defensive performance and two unnecessary yellow cards will be something Carlos Queiroz will have to talk about before the showdown against the neighbours on Wednesday.
Vietnam – Iran 0-2 (0-1)
Asian Cup 2019, group D
1-0 Sardar Azmoun (38′ / assist by Saman Ghoddos)
2-0 Sardar Azmoun (69′ / Mehdi Torabi)
Iran’s lineup: Beiranvand – Ghafouri, Pouraliganji, Kanaanizadegan, Hajsafi – Ebrahimi – Dejagah, Amiri (64′ Nourollahi) – Ghoddos, Taremi (64′ Torabi) – Azmoun (79′ Ansarifard)
Iranian players booked: Mehdi Taremi (foul), Ehsan Hajsafi (foul)