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IR Iran, Indonesia seek cheer after semis heartbreak

Tabriz: The head coaches of Islamic Republic of Iran and Indonesia will urge their players to go for one last push when they square off in the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 third-place play-off at the Pour Sharifi Indoor Stadium on Saturday. 

Both came up just short in Thursday's semi-finals as Iran were dethroned by Japan after an epic tie while Afghanistan ended Indonesia's dream run, with both suffering defeat in extra time.

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Goals scored: 17
Conceded: 15
Top scorer: Salar Aghapour (5 goals)

The host nation came back from a goal down to lead 4-3 against Japan but were severely punished for a defensive lapse when Osawa Masashi was taken down in the box in the final minute, with Motoishi Takehiro converting the spot-kick to push the game into extra time.

Iran then fell to two set-pieces, along with two more goals which were the result of their power play backfiring to lose 8-4 and miss out on the chance of defending their title.

Head coach Hamid Moghadam admitted his team were feeling down after losing to Japan.

“It’s going to be difficult to motivate my team now, and I’m worried my players will not emotionally recover from this,” said Moghadam.

“It’s going to be an even harder match against Indonesia, compared to the semi-final.”

Moghadam will be counting on Salar Aghapour to lead his teammates, with the player having scored five goals so far. Masoud Yousef Shavardazi, with four goals, will be the other player Indonesia have to be wary of.

INDONESIA Goals scored: 19 Conceded: 12 Top scorer: Muhammad Sanjaya (5 goals)

Indonesia showed tremendous resilience to bounce back from two goals down to force extra time but Afghanistan grew stronger as the match progressed to win 4-3 on Thursday.

Head coach Sayan Karmadi said he will be tweaking his lineup but is hoping his players will be motivated to defeat Iran despite their heartbreak in the semi-finals.

“There will definitely be some changes for the match,” says Karamdi.

“We’ll review the video of the semi-final but one of the things that we need to look at is our motivation, and we hope our players will keep that spirit to finish third.”

Indonesia defeated Iran 3-1 in a pre-tournament friendly and Karmadi believes Indonesia have an edge over the 2017 champions, having played Afghanistan who have a similar play style.

“Iran are similar to Afghanistan in terms of play style, and we’ve also played with them previously. So maybe it will be sort of a revenge for the loss (against Afghanistan).”

Photos: AFC

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