Amman: Iraq head coach Srečko Katanec said that his side deserved their 2-1 win against Islamic Republic of Iran in Group C of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
Substitute Ali Abbas’ added-time strike secured the victory for Iraq who took the lead through Mohanad Ali after just 11 minutes before Iran drew level in the 25th minute through Ahmed Nourollahi.
See also :
Matchday 5: Results & Reports
MD5 - Group C: Iraq 2-1 IR Iran
MD5 - Group C: Hong Kong 0-0 Bahrain
The Slovenian coach was pleased with the late win for his side which put them at the top of the group with 10 points.
“Congratulations to Iraq. We were the better side and we deserved this victory,” said Katanec.
“The players showed great determination to win the match and this was reflected with the late goal that we scored,” he added.
Despite the important victory, Katanec revealed that his side still has a lot of work in order to qualify from the group.
“We must concentrate on our next match against Bahrain,” he said. “We should not be happy with our victory in this match but we should celebrate when we qualify from the group.”
“We are still midway in the Qualifiers and we should have an overall look at the group and not stop competing because we defeated Iran,” he added. “We should concentrate on the next matches as we still have four matches to play and things could change.”
IR Iran head coach Marc Wilmots was disappointed with the defeat and lamented on the late goal that his side conceded.
“We were organised throughout the match even when we played with 10 men,” said Wilmots.
“We paid the price of failing to deal with dead-ball situations just like what happened in Bahrain when they scored from a penalty and tonight we lost from a corner late in the game,” he explained.
However, Wilmots said that Team Melli will not lose hope in advancing to the next round of the Qualifiers.
“We still have four matches remaining in the group,” he added. “We must get the complete points from these matches and wait for the other results.”
Captain Masoud Shojaei, meanwhile, apologised to the Iran fans for getting sent off after receiving a second yellow in the dying minutes of the match.
“I apologise to the fans for letting them down,” Shojaei said. “I have always tried my best for Team Melli. I have always tried to make my people happy.
"I am ashamed of what I have done. I vow to stay strong and work harder.”
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