Iran no match for mighty Brazil

ABU DHABI — They are still work in progress and not yet the finished article but a full-strength Brazil, filled with youth and experience, overcame sweltering conditions to blank a boisterously-backed Iran in an international football friendly at the Zayed Sports City on Thursday night.

By James Jose

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Published: Sat 9 Oct 2010, 11:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:34 AM

Watched by 20,000 spectators consisting of expat Iranians, Brazilians and locals, the famous blue and yellow combination came away with a 3-0 victory.

The friendlies are a series of matches for Brazil. They played USA and FC Barcelona in an unofficial friendly and now Iran. They play Ukraine in Derby, England followed by two games against rivals Argentina in Qatar and La Plata, Argentina before taking on France in Saint-Denis. They wind up the world tour with a game against Germany in Stuttgart.

Iran got going with a couple of forays in the early minutes and thought they had gone ahead in the fifth minute. They strung together a nice move in from the left and Mohammed Gholami shot home with left-footer but was ruled offside.

Brazil, who took time to adjust to the sweltering conditions and were playing second fiddle, got in the groove and ran circles around the Iranian defence thereafter. They worked up some dangerous moves and the five-time World Champions went ahead in the 14th minute through Daniel Alves. The Barcelona defender fired a swerving screamer off a freekick and the airborne Iranian goalkeeper Seyed Mahdi Rahmati had no chance. The ball took the inside of the post and went in.

Later, in the 17th minute, the ‘A Selecao’ almost doubled it through Robinho. The Brazil captain played back and forth with Pato before Pato took a crack but it was cleared by the defence.

Three minutes later, Brazil strung together another move through Robinho and Pato but Robinho’s shot hit the far post. Pato took the rebound but it went wide.

Iran came back stronger after the break and almost got the equaliser. Javad Nekonam, who has played for Abu Dhabi club Al Wahda and Al Sharjah in the UAE, lobbed it over the goalkeeper Victor after a freekick but Brazilian defender Ramires made a goalline save.

Both coaches Brazil’s Mano Menezes and Iran’s Afshin Ghotbi made a flurry of substitutions with Menezes taking off captain Robinho and bringing in Nilmar. Brazil doubled the lead through Pato in the 69th minute. The AC Milan striker slotted it over the charging goalkeeper Seyed Mahdi Rahmati after a neat pass from substitute Elias. Pato has now scored in all the three friendlies so far.

The Iran coach brought in Karim Bagheri in place of Masoud Soleimani Shojaei, who has played for Al Sharjah. Bagheri, who became the first Iranian to play in the Premiership when he turned out for Charlton Athletic in 2000-01, was playing his last game for Iran. He also played in the 1998 World Cup.

With 15 minutes left, Brazil almost scored the third but the Iranian goalkeeper Seyed Mahdi Rahmati denied them with a wonderful save. Substitute Nilmar had a crack at goal but Rahmati dived to his left and punched it away.

But Nilmar was not to be denied again in the four minutes of injury time, as the Villarreal striker tapped it in after a superb Andre Santos cross from the left.

Iran had a chance to reduce the margin when substitute Milad Midavoodi, who has played in the UAE for Al Ahli, broke through with a solo and the goalkeeper Victor charged out. But Midavoodi shot wide.

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