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Tashkent: Mohammad Keshavarz netted a second-half brace as Iran closed in on a place in the AFC Futsal Championship quarter-finals after they thrashed China 7-0 at the Universal Stadium on Friday.

First-half goals from Mohammad Taheri, Ashgar Hassanzadeh and Hamid Ahmadi helped Iran to a 3-0 lead at the break in front of some boisterous support before they turned on the style in the second twenty minutes.

Keshavarz then notched his double before further goals from Hossein Tayebi and Ghodrat Bahadori rounded out what was a convincing win for the 10-time champions.

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“We showed a powerful performance and that’s another step towards our ultimate goal of winning this tournament,” said coach Mohammad Nazemosharie. 

“I also wanted to make sure that all the squad played because we have specific plans for each moment of the match and we did that well today.”

Iran got off to an explosive start as they scored one of the fastest goals in the history of the competition when they slotted home immediately from the kickoff.

A loose pass from China captain Lu Yue was seized upon by Taheri who guided his shot past Wei Zheng to hand Iran a dream opening.

Five minutes later they doubled their lead following a delay when Wei went down with injury.

Iran took a quick re-start and with the Chinese defence still adjusting Hamid Ahmadi fed Hassanzadeh who tucked home his shot at the far post to make it 2-0 after six minutes.

The speed and movement of Iran was causing China all sorts of trouble and only the post prevented them from going further ahead as Mahdi Javid’s effort missed by the narrowest of margins with five minutes remaining.

The third did eventually arrive though on 17 minutes as Ahmadi smashed home a powerful shot from the right to send his side into the break three goals to the good.

Iran began the second period as they had the first and after several shots that just missed the target they went 4-0 up in the 24th minute as a mistake from Zhao Liang presented them with a three-on-two situation.

Keshavarz didn’t need the extra numbers though as he did it all himself, stroking his shot past Wei with ease and barely 20 seconds later Iran further extended their lead as Reza Sangsefidi fed Tayebi who made it 5-0.

Tayebi then turned provider in the 28th minute when he layed the ball off to Keshavarz who blasted home his second from midway inside the Chinese half.

Iran were toying with a tiring Chinese side and Bahadori was left completely unmarked with eight minutes remaining and he launched a rocket of a shot that flew past Wei to make it 7-0.

Only some over elaborate passing and wayward finishing preventing Iran from further adding to their tally as they underlined their status as one of the tournament’s favourites.

“Usually over the past years when we’ve played Iran we have conceded a dozen or so goals each match and Iran is a powerhouse in Asia,” said China coach Shan Zhiping.

“So honestly, I feel happy with the performance because the number of goals we are conceding is becoming fewer.”

Photo: AFC