Tehran Times – SONGKHLA, Korea Republic defeated Iran 2-1 in their AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group C tie at the Tinsulanon Stadium on Sunday.
Korea forward Lee Dong-Jun played on the rebound and sent the ball into the net in the 22nd minute.
Cho Gue-Sung made it 2-0 for the Korean team in the 35th minute, firing a powerful shot from just outside the area on the left-hand side to beat Iran goalkeeper Habib Farabbasi.
Reza Shekari pulled a goal back for Iran in the 54th minute with a header from inside the six-yard box.
“We had two different halves. In the first 20 minutes, we had scoring chances but after that our players fell asleep and forgot their duties. We gave them chance to score twice and return to the match against a team like Korea is very difficult,” Iran coach Hamid Estili said.
“In the second half we created some changes and put Korea under pressure and they embarked on counter attacks. We didn’t deserve to lose and could have earned one point against Korea,” he added.
“We know China very well and it will be our last chance. We have no way but to defeat China. We have to prepare our team mentally and physically for this match,” Estili concluded.
Iran, who were held by a 1-1 draw against Uzbekistan on Thursday, will play China on Wednesday.
The competition is being held in Songkhla, Thailand from Jan. 8 to 26.
The top three teams qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July, although should Japan emerge as one of them, the fourth-placed side will advance.
Iran have not been in the Olympics since the 1976 games in Munich.