Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Doha: IR Iran’s bid for glory at the upcoming AFC U-23 Championship has been dented after Ahmad Nourollahi was confirmed as their latest absentee from the tournament.
With Iran’s campaign in Qatar set to kick off on January 12, there were already doubts over Nourollahi’s participation given his recent injury problems.
And at the end of last week, it was confirmed that the Persepolis man will not be part of Mohammad Khakpour’s final 23-man squad having failed to recover sufficiently.
“(The) MRI revealed the extent of his injury,” said Iran Olympic team manager Habib Kashani, according to Tasnim News.
“Nourollahi needs more rest to make a full recovery.”
The absence of the defensive midfielder comes as another blow to Team Melli’s hopes of going far at the AFC U23 Championship, given they are already missing a trio of key players.
Rising star Sardar Azmoun, along with club team-mate Saeid Ezatolahi, had already been ruled out after Russian club FC Rostov decided against releasing them for the tournament, which was also the same case for winger Alireza Jahanbaksh, currently plying his trade in Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar.
Despite being without this quartet of influential figures, Khakpour still has a fairly experienced side that could potentially make an impact in Qatar.
Without Azmoun, much of the goalscoring burden is likely to fall on the shoulders of Naft Tehran striker Amir Arsalan Motahari.
Nonetheless, he will receive plenty of support from the likes of Ehsan Palavan, Alireza Naghizadeh and Ali Karimi, who have all featured regularly for Iran at U-23 level.