Tabriz: Afghanistan continued their fairytale run in the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 after reaching their first-ever final, and goalkeeper Mohammad Javad Safari has pledged to make the country proud.
Afghanistan have been a formidable team in the second edition of the tournament, and made headlines when they reached their first knockout stage as the Group A runners-up, having beaten Hong Kong and putting up a solid challenge in their 3-2 loss to host nation Islamic Republic of Iran.
They had to dig deep in the quarter-final against Thailand, emerging 3-2 victors.
Tabriz: Indonesia’s Firman Adriansyah has vowed to perform better when the Southeast Asians vie for a third place finish at the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019.
In the semi-final against Afghanistan on Thursday, Indonesia came back from a goal down twice to force the game into extra time.
Seyed Hossein Mousavi and Dawood Yousufi then gave the Central Asians a two-goal lead, which compelled the young Garuda to go on the offensive with Muhammad Sanjaya scoring in the final minute to reduce their deficit, but it was too little too late.
Tabriz: Japan rose to the occasion as they defeated reigning champions Islamic Republic of Iran 8-4 to seal their place in the final of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 on Thursday.
It was a match worthy of a final, as it featured two teams with intense rivalry.
Japan, who were making their first semi-final appearance, had a bright start when goalkeeper Tabuchi Hiroshi’s long throw found Takehiro Motoishi in the box, but Takahashi Yudai shot the subsequent pass straight at Mohammadali Niknamtorghabe.
Afghanistan edge Indonesia in thrilling semi-final
Tabriz: Afghanistan advanced to the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 final after defeating a plucky Indonesia 4-3 in a thrilling semi-final that went to extra-time on Thursday.
Afghanistan will face the winners of the Islamic Republic of Iran-Japan semi-final, being played later on Thursday, in Saturday's final.
Both sides were making their first appearance in the semi-finals, with Afghanistan maintaining their high tempo style of play to force Indonesia to be on high alert at the Pour Sharifi Indoor Stadium.
Indonesia, however, were far from overawed by Afghanistan’s aggression and the Southeast Asians signalled their intent when Muhammad Rizki Xavier’s shot in the first minute forced goalkeeper Mohammad Javad Safari into action.
Tabriz: Islamic Republic of Iran needed extra time to see off the plucky challenge of Lebanon, winning 3-2 to seal their place in the semi-finals of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 on Tuesday.
Iran will play Japan in Thursday's semi-final after the East Asians defeated 2017 runners-up Iraq in their last eight tie earlier on Tuesday.
The other semi-final will see Indonesia taking on Afghanistan.
Tabriz: Afghanistan moved within two matches of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 title after scoring a 3-2 win over Thailand in their quarter-final tie on Tuesday.
Afghanistan, who have stated their aim is to emerge champions, will play Indonesia in the semi-finals on Thursday.
The match was expected to be a cracker as Afghanistan and Thailand were impressive en route to the knockout stage but it was the Southeast Asians who started the brighter and tested goalkeeper Mohammad Javad Safari in the opening minute.