Iran storm past Vietnam into AFC U-16 Championship semifinals

AFC Media

Goa: Allahyar Sayyad bagged a brace as Iran advanced to the semi-finals of the AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 after a resounding 5-0 quarter-final victory over Vietnam at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium On Sunday.

Sayyad opened the scoring after 29 minutes before Mohammad Ghaderi doubled their advantage early in the second half and Alireza Asadabadi gave Vietnam a mountain to climb just after the hour.

A dominant Iran then put their opponents to the sword as Amir Khodamoradi and Sayyad’s double wrapped up a comfortable win as Abbas Chamanian’s side progressed to the last four and also ensured a return to India for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup as one of the tournament’s top four teams.

Vietnam began confidently and had their first chance of note on eight minutes when Nguyen Tran Viet Cuong’s powerfully struck left-foot effort from 20 yards was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Ali Gholam Zadeh.

The custodian was again on hand in the 16th minute to save Vu Quang Do’s volley from 10 yards after Nguyen Trong Long picked out the defender with a deep corner from the left.

Without their injured skipper Aref Alipour for a second game in succession, Iran came back into the tie and broke the deadlock in the shortly before the half hour.

Ahmad Jalali picked up the ball on the left and delivered an inch-perfect delivery towards Sayyad, who got in between two defenders to head home his second goal of the tournament from six yards out.

Iran then opened up a two-goal lead a minute after the restart as Ghaderi controlled stand-in captain Mohammad Sharifi’s ball over the top with his chest before firing low into the bottom right corner from 15 yards.

And the game was all but over as a contest by the 61st minute when Iran added another through Asadabadi’s third of the campaign.

Sayyad robbed a hesitant Nguyen Thanh Binh of possession 25 yards from goal before racing into the box and, after Vietnam ‘keeper Huynh Huu Tuan got down to block the forward’s low drive, Asadabadi was on hand to tap into an empty net.

The Iranians were threatening to run riot as Ghaderi broke in from the left and crossed for Khodamoradi to side-foot home from 10 yards on 68 minutes.

Substitute Alireza Savari then had an instant impact when he found Sayyad four minutes later and the lively forward confidently dispatched into the bottom right corner from 12 yards.

The Southeast Asians almost grabbed a consolation with five minutes remaining but Nguyen Khac Khiem was narrowly off target from inside the penalty area as Iran claimed their biggest win of the campaign.

Photo: Lagardère Sports

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