Persianfootball.com – ABU DHABI, Goals from Mehdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun and Karim Ansarifard gave Iran a deserved 3-0 win over China in Asian Cup 2019 quarter finals on Thursday, setting up a semifinal hit versus Japan on Monday.
Only backlash for the Iranians was a second half yellow card for the in-form Taremi, who now will serve a one-match suspension against the Asian Cup record title holders.
Good start for Team Melli
Carlos Queiroz made two changes to his starting linep, replacing the suspended Vahid Amiri by Ehsan Hajsafi in midfield and Majid Hosseini by Hossein Kanaanizadegan in central defense.
Other than against Oman, Iran started calmer, an early half-chance for China was not only cleared by Ramin Rezaeian, but also stopped by a very late offside call.
On the other side, the dominant Iranians soon created danger, but Azmoun’s header could be cleared off the line by a defender before another good Azmoun effort went past the post.
The striker turned into the goal-creator after 18 minutes, when he chased down a long ball from defense and stole it from a defender on the right flank, perfectly setting up Taremi in center, who just had to score the open net.
Taremi seemed to have been brought down in the box short time later, but both the whistle as well as the VAR collagues remained silent, much to the surprise of the Iranians.
The Al Gharaffa striker must have made it 2-0 shortly later, but somehow managed to miss the open net from close range after being set up by Kanaanizadegan.
So it was up to Azmoun to score the much overdue second goal as he again stole the ball from the defender following a long ball forward, this time curving around the goalkeeper to score his fourth of the tournament.
A short video inspection later, Azmoun was confirmed to be onside and not having fouled the defender.
China continued to be completely outplayed and outmusceled by the Iranian midfield and defense, with Lippi being forced to make two changes in first half already and obviously sorrowly missing suspended defender Zhang.
Less action in second half
Second half was marked by Iran continuing the control the proceedings, although pressing less for further goals. Nevertheless, Iran remained the more dangerous side, while it took China more than 81 minutes to create their first chance – through a counter attack.
They finally should get their first effort on target deep into injury time, shortly after Iran had made it 3-0.
Again a defender failed to hold on to the ball and Taremi, who had seen his second yellow card of the tournament for a foul after 67 minutes and will miss the Japan clash, stole the ball, set up substitute striker Ansarifard who very well crossed the path of the chasing defender before slotting home.
Iran, unbeaten in all five matches with a 12-0 goal difference will now have to overcome the strongest opposition so far, four-time Asian Cup champions Japan, in order to reach their first continental final match since last winning the competition in 1976.
China – Iran 0-3 (0-2)
Asian Cup 2019, quarter final, Abu Dhabi
0-1 Mehdi Taremi (18′ / assist by Sardar Azmoun)
0-2 Sardar Azmoun (31′ / Alireza Jahanbakhsh)
0-3 Karim Ansarifard (91′ / Mehdi Taremi)
Iran’s lineup: Beiranvand – Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, Kanaanizadegan, Mohammadi – Ebrahimi – Dejagah (76′ Cheshmi), Hajsafi – Jahanbakhsh (68′ Ghoddos), Taremi – Azmoun (86′ Ansarifard)
Iranian players booked: Mehdi Taremi (foul / misses next match)