On This Day: Iran crowned 1972 AFC Asian Cup champions [VIDEO]

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AFC – KUALA LUMPUR, In the first of a new series looking back at some of Asian football’s historic moments, the-afc.com rewinds the clock to May 19, 1972, when Iran emerged champions of Asia for the second time.

Asia’s finest do battle in Bangkok

1972 marked the first time the AFC Asian Cup was played on Southeast Asian soil, with Bangkok, Thailand the venue as six sides bid to win the continent’s biggest prize.

Thailand qualified automatically as hosts along with defending champions Iran while the competition also welcomed back inaugural champions Korea Republic who had failed to qualify four years earlier.

Three nations making their tournament debut – Kuwait, Iraq and Khmer Republic (now known as Cambodia) – completed the line-up as the action began at the National Stadium on May 7 with the group allocation matches.

Iran got off to a winning start as goals from Hossein Ali Kalani (pictured below, left) and Safar Iranpak secured a 2-0 win over the Khmers while Iraq beat the South Koreans 4-2 on penalties after the two protagonists had played out a 0-0 draw.

A day later, the preliminary round action concluded as Thailand’s first Asian Cup appearance ended in a 2-0 defeat to Kuwait, with goals coming from Jawad Khalaf (42’) and Fayez Marzouq (85’).

Group Stage drama

When the group stage drama got underway, Iran delivered a true statement of intent as they kicked things off in Group A with a 3-0 triumph over the Iraqis, fuelled primarily by Kalani’s clinical hat-trick.

Iraq followed that defeat with a 1-1 draw against Thailand when Ahmed Fathi’s sixth-minute opener was cancelled out by Supakit Meelarpkit (57’).

In the final Group A fixture as Iran came from behind to record a 3-2 triumph over the Thais in an enthralling encounter.

Thailand initially appeared to be closing on a victory thanks to a double from Prapon Tantariyanond, but in a stunning five-minute spell in the closing stages, Ali Jabbari grabbed a hat-trick to win it for the Iranians.

In Group B, Korea Republic got the action underway with a dominant 4-1 win over Khmer Republic, with strikes from Park Soo-duk (37’) and Lee Hoe-taek (59’) handing them a comfortable lead before the hour mark.

The result was put beyond doubt after further strikes by Cha Bum-kun (69’) and Park Lee-chun (78’), although Doeur Sokhom did grab a consolation for the Khmers eight minutes from time.

Things looked equally good for the South Koreans in their next game as Park Lee-chun fired them ahead after just two minutes, but Mohammed Sultan (25’) and Ibrahim Draihim (73’) went on to find the back of the net as Kuwait claimed a shock 2-1 victory.

The result ensured qualification from Group B went down to the wire as Khmer Republic and Kuwait faced off in the final game on May 14, and it was the former who went on to seal their progress – and Korea Republic’s – with a 4-0 triumph.

Goals from Sokhom (23’) and Sok Sun Hean (56’) put them firmly in control of proceedings before the result was put beyond doubt as Tes Sean (59’) and Sea Cheng Eang (80’) weighed in with further strikes.

Iran edge closer to the title

Nonetheless, that was as far as the Khmers would go as they bowed out in the semi-finals after being defeated 2-1 by Iran despite a brave showing.

Parviz Ghelichkhani proved to be the hero for the Iranians as he grabbed the winner three minutes into the second half, this after Iranpak’s 15th-minute opener had been cancelled out by Sokhom three minutes later.

In the other last-four clash, Thailand’s dream of being crowned Asian champions also came to an end as they were beaten by Korea Republic on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

With neither side able to find the breakthrough in the 90 minutes, the game entered extra-time and the hosts finally struck through a Tantariyanond effort in the 98th minute.

However, Park Lee-chun equalised seven minutes later to send the game to the shootout, where the East Asians prevailed 2-1.

And on May 19, it was Iran who were crowned champions for the second tournament running after recording a 2-1 extra-time win over the South Koreans.

Following a goalless first half, Jabbari (48’) broke the deadlock for the Iranians although Park Lee-chun fired Korea Republic level eight minutes after the hour mark.

But in the 107th minute, Kalani – who finished as the tournament’s top scorer – grabbed the winner to hand Iran a second continental crown.

Thailand were able to celebrate their debut with a third-place finish after beating Khmer Republic 5-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

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