IR Iran simply unstoppable as they secure 12th title
Taipei: Islamic Republic of Iran were crowned the AFC Futsal Championship winners for the 12th time after beating Japan 4-0 on Sunday.
Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh gave Iran the lead in the first half, and further goals from Farhad Tavakoli, Hossein Tayebi and Hassanzadeh again secured them a second consecutive title.
The battle between the Continent’s two futsal giants began as expected, with both sides playing a high pressure game with intense marking from the first blow of the whistle, and Mahdi Javid came dangerously close for Iran in the opening minutes when his effort struck the goal frame.
Japan head coach Bruno Garcia kept his players fully charged with flying substitutions which forced Iran to constantly adapt to the changing formations.
Taipei: Islamic Republic of Iran star Hossein Tayebi emerged top scorer at the AFC Futsal Championship 2018 with a haul of 14 goals.
Tayebi edged two-time AFC Most Valuable Player of The Year and teammate, Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh who scored two goals against Japan to finish second with 12.
It was Tayebi's second top scorer award following his first win four years ago in Vietnam.
Tayebi was instrumental throughout the tournament as he scored hat-tricks against Myanmar, China and Thailand. His last goal of the tournament against The Samurai Five in the final on Sunday summed up his fantastic tournament.
Uzbekistan clinch third place after thrilling play-off
Taipei: Uzbekistan secured third place in the AFC Futsal Championship 2018, defeating Iraq 2-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the exciting play-off ended 4-4 at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium on Sunday.
In the opening minutes, both sides played cautiously and only looked to apply pressure when necessary, and in one such instance in the third minute, Dilshod Rakhmatov intercepted Zaid Ali’s pass, before Davron Choriev beat goalkeeper Yahya Abdulnoor for Uzbekistan to take an early lead.
Iraq then began to pile on the pressure and had more control over the ball, but with Uzbek custodian Rustam Umarov guiding his backline, the West Asians had few opportunities on target.
However in the 15th minute, Ali rectified his earlier mistake by dispossessing Rakhmatov in front of the box, and fired off a firm shot to the bottom right to equalise for Iraq.
Haitham Abbas’ charges returned in the second half more passionate and 20 seconds in, Waleed Khalid found the back of the net with a superb volley from a corner set-play, before Salim Faisal doubled their advantage two minutes later when his shot bounced in between the framework and into the goal.
Uzbekistan, who finished third in 2005, 2007 and 2014 and were runners-up two years ago, were hardly demoralised despite the two-goal deficit, and in the 26th minute skipper Artur Yunusov neatly converted from a corner.