Queiroz’s kudos to Iran attacker Azmoun

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AFC Asian Cup – SYDNEY, Carlos Queiroz claimed Sardar Azmoun is as good as any striker he has worked with in his long and illustrious coaching career after seeing the youngster score the goal that secured Iran’s place in the knockout rounds of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

Azmoun netted a wonderful 52nd minute effort on Thursday evening to give Iran a 1-0 win over Gulf Cup champions Qatar that maintained their perfect start to the continental championship campaign.

And the former Real Madrid and Manchester United coach compared the talented 20-year-old to Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy after a goal that saw him turn the Qatari defence before sliding the ball beyond goalkeeper Qasem Burhan and give Iran the win.

“Brilliant goal, it was a special movement of the centre forward to make a great turn at the level of some of the best centre forwards I have worked with in my life, like Ruud van Nistelrooy,” said Queiroz. “It was a brilliant goal.

“I think we knew that we should try those turns and we should try to attack the space behind, but the way he moved the ball for a young player, he has a great future in front of him.”

The win follows an earlier 2-0 victory over Bahrain in the tournament and means Iran will go into their final Group C meeting with the United Arab Emirates in Brisbane on Monday needing to win to finish top of the group.

Iran’s margin of victory could have been much greater but, with Azmoun off the field for the final half hour due to injury, his replacement, Reza Ghoochannejhad, missed a handful of chances to make the points safe, enraging Queiroz on the bench.

“I don’t feel frustrated, I just call for attention and put pressure on the team because you must finish the game, when you have the last 15 or 20 minutes you have eight counterattacks,” said Queiroz.

“With a simple pass into the box anything can happen, a simple accident can turn the game and you can score. It’s important to keep cool and hold the ball and finish the game.

“From the bench we saw one, two, three, four, five, six, seven chances to score and the goal never came. It’s just my mentality. If I can win 1-0, I will take the chance. Two is better, three is better, four is better.”

Azmoun left the field with a calf problem, and Queiroz stressed it was too early to determine whether the Rubin Kazan forward would be fit for the meeting with the UAE.

“We think it’s not serious, but after the effect of the cramp we need to see tomorrow,” said Queiroz. “It’s too early to diagnose, but we are positive.”

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