Iran eager to defeat Qatar

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3,315 views – SYDNEY, After celebrating a 2-0 victory over Bahrain in its Asian Cup opener on last Sunday, Team Melli is eager to extend its winning run by defeating archrival Qatar today at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.

“Definitely, we have a difficult game against Qatar tomorrow,” midfielder Andranik Teymourian previously mentioned in an early press conference and Iran’s experiences in the past showed that Team Melli always had a hard time to break Qatar’s concrete wall although the Persian Lions defeated the Persian Gulf side 1-0 in the latest World Cup 2014 qualifier in Doha.

Even though the Qataris didn’t play a big role in Asian football despite holding the previous Asian Cup 2011 and certain pinholes against Asian powerhouses like Japan, South Korea, Iran or Australia, still the so-called „Al-Annabi“ is a team which should not be underestimated.

In footballing terms Qatar still faces criticism about its „recruiting“ from all over the globe. Senegalese-born goalkeeper Ghasem Burhan, Algerian-born Boualem Khoukhi or striker Mohammed Tresor Abdullah from the Democratic Republic of Congo are just an example of players who decided to change flags in favour of the Persian Gulf side.

A player to watch is definitely Al-Arabi star midfielder and AFC Champions League winner Khalfan Ibrahim Khalfan Al Khalfan (26). The former Asian player of the year 2006 has developed into Qatar’s midfield strategist and is often described as „Maradona of Qatar“.

Despite an undistinguished preparation, the Iranian football national team started well into the tournament and expects a victory over Qatar to secure a place in the Asian Cup quarter-finals.

Even though Iran youngster Morteza Pouraliganji showed a pleasing performance against Bahrain, he will most probably find himself warming the bench as centre-back Amirhossein Sadeghi is expected to return to the starting lineup.

Former Bolton midfielder Andranik Teymourian was doubtful but clarified all speculations regarding his slight injury. Iran’s holding midfielder stated in a press conference that he already returned to team practice and will be ready for Qatar.

Below comes Iran’s possible line-up against Qatar:

A. Haghighi – Ghafouri, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Pouladi – Teymourian, Nekounam – Dejagah, Shojaei, Hajsafi – Ghoochannejhad

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