April 16, 2024
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TehranTimes – TEHRAN, After a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Hong Kong, Iran’s coach, Amir Ghalenoei, expressed his frustration with the team’s inefficiency.

Despite being ranked 21st in the world, Iran faced Hong Kong, ranked 150th, in what seemed like a mismatch on paper. As one of the tournament favorites, Iran football team aim for a record-equaling fourth continental crown, but their performance left much to be desired.

Although Iran secured a spot in the knockout rounds with a game to spare, Ghalenoei was displeased with the missed opportunities during the match, stating, “I am angry about the opportunities that we missed in this game.”

The frustration stemmed from Iran’s inability to convert their possession into more goals, with only one goal scored despite dominating the game.

Surprisingly, Hong Kong, participating in their first Asian Cup in over 55 years, had early opportunities, especially when Everton Camargo missed a chance from inside the box.

The match highlighted Iran’s struggles in capitalizing on their offensive prowess.

In response to the criticism directed at Iran’s defensive weaknesses and giving opponents goal-scoring opportunities, Ghalenoei defended his team’s style of play, saying, “The Iranian national team played with a different model for 10 years. Changing this approach in a short time has its costs. Playing an attacking style is time-consuming.”

Ghalenoei believed that the current criticism was unfair and emphasized that such scrutiny did not exist during the tenure of previous coaches.

Expressing his frustration with the critics, Ghalenoei urged support for the team and accused some critics to undermine Team Melli’s power.

He noted the stark contrast between the current situation and the past eight years, asserting that despite having better resources and facilities during that period, the team did not face such intense criticism.