Iran serve Cup warning with 5-0 Yemen mauling
Iran Mehdi Taremi (17) celebrates with teammates after scoring the second goal against Yemen at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi - The 'Red Devils' were keen on making an impression but ran out of ideas
By Ashwani Kumar
Published: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 9:51 PM
Last updated: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 11:53 PM
A ruthless Iran thrashed debutant Yemen 5-0 in the Group D match of the AFC Asian Cup match in Abu Dhabi.
It was complete domination by the 14-time Cup participant Iran over Yemen who at the start had youthful exuberance of a debutant but soon lost their way.
The 'Red Devils' were keen on making an impression but ran out of ideas and purpose. At the beginning, Yemen attackers Ahmed Al Sarori, Ala Al Sasi, Abdulwasea Al Matari and Emad Mansoor were creative while going forward.
In the first 10 minutes, Yemen had two close attempts on Iranian goal through Al Sarori and Al Matari, but both failed to score. And Iran made Yemen pay dearly for those missed opportunities.
In the 12th minute, Yemen keeper Saoud Al Sowadi saved a long-range right-foot shot from Sardar Azmoun but Mehdi Taremi converted on the rebound with a thunderous finish.
Yemen tried to respond but adding to their misery Iran doubled the advantage in the 23rd minute. Ashkan Dejagah's free-kick struck the right post but the ball deflected in off keeper Al Sowadi. There were numerous forays into the Yemen box led by Mahdi Torabi. And it was game over as Taremi made it 3-0 with a fine header in the 25th minute.
Those three strikes, coming in close succession, blanked Yemen. By half-time Iran was in party mood. The trio of Taremi-Torabi-Azmoun toyed with the debutants. At the start of second half, Al Sowadi did his best to tap out Azmoun's sharp header but the Rubin Kazan striker finally scored through a corner in 53rd minute.
There was some solace for Yemen as Taremi was substituted in 71 minutes. But Iran scored one more as Saman Ghoddos smashed one from edge of the box. The attacks continued till the very last minute. By the end, Iran had 20 shots on goal to three by Yemen. The match served as a footballing lesson to Yemen and a warning to rest of the teams.
Iran: Mehdi Taremi (12, 25), Saoud Al Sowadi (23 OG), Sardar Azmoun (53), Saman Ghoddos (78)