Monday, 28 May 2012 06:39
PFDC - ISTANBUL, Team Melli’s lost a friendly match during their training camp in Turkey 0-1 to Albania, a result that will not prove well mentally, when Iran faces Uzbekistan in a World Cup qualifier in just a week, next Sunday.
Both teams began slightly unorganized at the Inonu stadium in Istanbul, with sloppy passes and no clear tactic visible.
Albania got the game on a roll, after Elis Bakaj sent his scissors kick well over the crossbar in the 15th minute.
Bakaj came close again on a dangerous freekick in the 23rd minute, curling his shot just wide of Iranian keeper Alireza Haghighi.
Just four minutes later striker Karim Ansarifard’s cross was met with a Hossein Mahini header which was blasted above the goal.
Pejman Nouri had his opportunity sent from an impressive Javad Nekounam pass, although his shot was poorly hit from less than ten yards out.
Eight minutes after the restart, Ansarifard opened the Albanian net, though the goal was disallowed by the referee as the forward's hand deflected the ball before finishing.
Two minutes later, another golden opportunity emerged for the young Iranian striker after he beautifully dribbled past an Albanian defender but was denied in front of goal by keeper Erit Berisha.
Albania finally put a number on the scoreline in the 60th minute of the match, when Emiljano Vila benefitted from Iran being unable to clear the ball just outside the box and pummelled the ball past Iranian keeper Alireza Haghighi to put the red and black Eagles ahead.
Substitute playmaker Ali Karimi could have levelled the scoreline, but his shot from close range after a Khosro Heydari throughball was saved by Berisha.
Iran’s best chance for equalizing came when Karimi sent a powerful header at the goal, though the attempt went just centimeters wide.
Controversy arose when a Nekounam freekick in injury time was clearly stopped by Lazio defender's Cana's hand inside the area, but the referee refused to award a spotkick.
Team Melli is scheduled to begin the second round of its World Cup Qualification against Uzbekistan on June 3rd in Tashkent.
Iran was grouped with South Korea, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Qatar for the second round of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Iran - Albania 0-1 (0-0)
Friendly match, Istanbul
0-1 Vila (60')
Iran's lineup: Haghighi - Mahini (84' Aghily), Montazeri, Hosseini, P. Nouri (58' Heydari)- Teymourian, Nekounam, Jabbari (77' Dehnavi) - M. Ebrahimi (68' Rezaei), Ansarifard (67' Karimi), Hajsafi (46' Pouladi)
Iranian players booked: Pouladi, Nekounam