TehranTimes – TEHRAN – Iran beat Central Asian team Turkmenistan 3-1 at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Qualifiers on Friday.
A first half own-goal proved to be costly for Turkmenistan, as Iran turned on the power in the second half at the Azadi Stadium.
The match between the two Central Asian teams was equal at best in the opening minutes and a goalless stalemate was set in place until the 35th minute when a defensive error from Shazada Bashimov gave the Iranians the lead.
Iran’s senior team is Asia’s top ranked team, and the U23 side were aiming to emulate their prowess, and in the second half, they doubled their lead through captain Omid Noorafkan’s effort on 54 minutes.
A comeback for Turkmenistan was not very far off when Bagtyyar Gurgenov found the back of the net to reduce their deficit.
However, as the match went into added time, it was Iran who came out on top with substitute Reza Jabireh scoring the final goal of the night to secure a good start to their qualifying campaign.
Iran will play Yemen and Iraq on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.