AFC - A sparkling performance from Sara Ghomi helped the Islamic Republic of Iran to a dominant 6-0 Group D win over Singapore on Wednesday, a victory which keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan.
The richly deserved success was Iran’s first in the qualifying tournament, following Monday’s 2-0 campaign opening defeat at the hands of Myanmar.
With 29-year-old forward Ghomi, who was to score in each half, proving to be a constant thorn in the side of the Singaporean defence, Maryam Azmoun’s side were quick to take control of the match, creating chances and forcing a series of corners.
Their early pressure went without reward, however, until Zhara Ghanbari’s thumping strike from the edge of the penalty area gave them the lead after fourteen minutes.
The Iranians doubled their lead almost instantly when Ghomi’s spectacular volley on the turn beat goalkeeper Noor Kusumawati less than a minute later, to put her side firmly in the driver’s seat with well over an hour to play.
As Iran’s confidence grew, so did their dominance of a Singapore side which consistently struggled to gain a foothold in the match, and was hampered by chief attacking weapons Nur Raudhah Khamis and Lim Li Xian’s inability to exert any real influence on proceedings.
By way of contrast, the Iranian midfield trio of Ghomi, Ghanbari and Shabnam Behest ran riot, a dominance which paid off once again seven minutes into the second half.
This time, Kusumawati spilled Behesht’s shot, and Ghomi was on hand to steer the ball into the empty net for her second of the match and put the result beyond any doubt.
As the Singaporeans tired in the latter stages, substitute Fatemeh Ghaesmi added a fourth goal with five minutes remaining, before striker Foroogh Mouri made it five two minutes later.
Mouri then rounded Kusumawati to complete Iran’s scoring spree in the dying stages of the match, and put the icing on a near-perfect performance.
With their campaign now seemingly back on track, Iran can look forward the luxury of a day off Matchday Three before returning for what looms as a crucial meeting with Vietnam on Sunday, while Singapore will face the same opponents on Friday.
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