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Tashkent: Hossein Tayebi scored four times as Iran sent out another warning of their AFC Futsal Championship title credentials as they wrapped up top spot in Group B with a 13-2 thrashing of previously unbeaten Iraq at the Uzbekistan Stadium on Sunday.

A blazing opening saw Team Melli race in ten goals with Tayebi helping himself to a first half hat-trick, Mohammad Taheri and Mahdi Javid collected braces and Asghar Hassanzadeh, Hamid Ahmadi and Farhad Tavakoli also got on the score sheet.

Waleed Khalid got a consolation for Iraq but the goals kept coming over a second half where Tayebi grabbed a fourth, Javid completed his hat-trick and Hassanzadeh got a second.

Amjad Kareem grabbed a late goal for Iraq but it took nothing away from a dominant performance from Iran.

“We are just doing our job, we’re not focused on how many goals we win by or what other nations are doing we just want to complete our own goals and aims,” said Iran coach Mohammad Nazemalsharie.

“We’ve said right from the start of the competition that our sole focus and aim is on winning this championship and nothing has changed but it was definitely good for us to play in front of a large crowd of local fans and we thank them for coming as they have been wonderful throughout the event.”

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Iran opened the scoring after just 24 seconds when Mohammad Keshavarz fed Taheri whose shot was spilled by Iraqi keeper Omar Jumaah and trickled into the net.

Two minutes later and that lead was doubled as Iran pounced on a poorly struck Iraq freekick.

The rebound fell to Tayebi who found himself in a three-on-one situation but he did it all himself, waltzing through on goal and finishing with ease.

The third goal arrived in a similar fashion with an Iraq set piece in the 5th minute falling loose and with no defensive players back Hassanzadeh found himself one-on-one with Jumaah and poked the ball past the keeper.

Iran kept piling on the pressure in a clinical performance where they looked like almost scoring at will and the fourth arrived at the six-minute mark as Ahmadi launched a thunderbolt from midway inside the Iraq half that left the goalkeeper with little chance.

Thirteen seconds later and Team Melli grabbed a fifth as Javid’s shot went in off the left-hand post, prompting Iraq coach Haitham Abbas to call an immediate time-out to try and compose his side.

The coach made a change in goal with Mohammed Noor replacing Jumaah but the momentum did not change.

Firstly Taheri grabbed his second after guiding home a shot from the left on 10 minutes before Tayebi also completed his brace a minute later with a delightful piece of skill to firstly control a tricky pass then turn and volley home from the left in one motion to make it 7-0.

In the 15th minute Rafid Hameed lost possession to allow Javid the space and time to calmly finish off Iran’s eighth of the half.

Iraq pulled one back after Iranian keeper Sepehr Mohammadi, who had been a virtual spectator up to that point, fumbled a shot from Khalid that dribbled into the net before Iran rounded out the half in style.

Tavakoli beat several defenders and laid off the perfect defence splitting pass that Tayebi prodded home to complete his hat-trick in the 18th minute.

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Iran weren’t yet finished though as Iraq were caught out using the power play half a minute before the end of the first term and a retreating defence could only partially clear Tavakoli’s initial shot allowing him to tuck home yet another goal from the rebound to send his side to the break with a 10-1 lead.

The 10-time champions made a change in goal at the start of the second half with Alireza Samimi being handed some playing time and there was a noticeable drop in intensity from Iran but they still managed to further extend their lead.

With the Iraq defence again caught out of position Tayebi took full advantage firing a shot straight down the centre of the goal with 12 minutes remaining to make it 11-1.

Iran then decided to experiment with a power play of their own and they added a twelfth goal in the 34th minute following a lengthy passing sequence that saw Javid sweep home his hat-trick goal.

In the 37th minute Iraq scored a consolation as they were caught out during another power play; Hassanzadeh had the keeper’s shirt on but was roaming far from goal when Ghodrat Bahadori lost possession in a tussle with Amjad Kareem whose shot crossed the line only for Iran to grab yet another with barely ten seconds remaining.

Hassanzadeh, still wearing the keeper’s shirt during yet another power play, unleashed a strong shot from the right that saw the match finish 13-2.

“We had three players injured before the match and we picked up a further few injuries during power plays,” said Iran coach Haitham Abbas. 

“But our focus has always been on the quarterfinals, I told the players before the match that this was all that mattered for us.”

Photo: AFC

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