There-time champions Iran got their AFC Asian Cup 2019 campaign off to a great start asthey thrashed Yemen 5-0 in a Group D encounter at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Carlos Queiroz’s men are looking to win their first Asian Cup title in 43 years and they could not have hoped for a better beginning to their title challenge than what transpired against Yemen during the 90 minutes of action.
GK: Alireza Beiranvand (7/10) – The Persepolis FC goalkeeper had the best seat in the house as he watched his teammates run riot over the Yemenis. Yemen had just three attempts in the 90 minutes and none of them were on target.
DF: Ehsan Hajsafi (8/10) – Hajsafi and Iran’s defence in general did not have much to deal with during the night, but Hajsafi dealt with whatever was thrown at him over the 90 minutes.
DF: Majid Hosseini (6/10) – The Trabzonspor defender was lucky enough to be on the field following a reckless challenge on Emad Mansoor Tawfik. He escaped without even a caution, but Queiroz decided to withdraw him at half time nonetheless.
DF: Morteza Pouraliganji (8/10) – Pouraliganji did a solid enough job in the defence but also contributed in attack by setting up substitute Saman Ghoddos at the far post for Iran’s fifth goal — it looked like a routine straight out of the training ground.
DF: Ramin Rezaeian (7.5/10) – Provided the assist for Mehdi Taremi’s second goal with a pinpoint cross to the far corner. However, the 28-year-old went into the referee’s book before the halftime for a bad foul in the 39th minute.
MF: Omid Ebrahimi (7.5/10) – Omid was the destructor in the midfield For Iran, and he will very well know the outing against Yemen wouldn’t be the toughest of challenges he will face in this month at the Asian Cup.
MF: Mehdi Torabi (8/10) – Was unlucky to not have scored with a long ranger in the dying moments of the game, but the 24-year-old pulled off a good performance in the midfield.
MF: Vahid Amiri (7/10) – The 30-year-old didn’t impress much in the 60 minutes he was on the field and was substituted by Queiroz in favour of Sama Ghoddos.
MF: Ashkan Dejagah (9/10) – Dejagah was the second-best player on the field and helped double Iran’s lead through a brilliantly struck free kick in the 23rd minute. However, it went down as an own goal as the ball hit the woodwork and went in after hitting the back of the goalkeeper.
MF: Mehdi Taremi (9.5/10) – Undoubtedly, the star of the night by scoring two and setting up one in the 70 minutes he was on the field. It looks like the Al-Gharafa man will be the player Iran will rely on for most of the goals in the continental championship.
FW: Sardar Azmoun (8.5/10) – Azmoun led the line for Team Melli and did what we was asked of him. He also rounded off a good performance with a goal in the 53rd minute.
DF: Pejman Montazeri (7/10) – Came on at half time replacing Hosseini and looked calm and composed in the backline – unlike his teammate who he replaced. He will be hoping Queiroz give him a start in the next group match against Vietnam.
MF: Saman Ghoddos (8/10) – The midfilder who plays for Amiens SC in the French Ligue 1 played the final half hour in the game and scored a goal for himself — scored from the edge of the area after a corner kick routine.
FW: Karim Ansarifard (6.5/10) – Iran’s star at he World Cup, Ansarifard had little time to do anything after coming on as a substitute in the 71st minute. The Nottingham Forest forward will be hoping for more game time in the upcoming matches.