September 15, 2016 8:17:55 pm
Iran came back strongly in the second half to beat Saudi Arabia 3-2 in group A match in the inaugural match of the AFC U-16 Championship at Nehru Stadium.
Saudi Arabia, who dictated terms in the first half, scored through Mansor Albeshe (4th minute) and Dhari Alanazi (42nd).
Iran fought back in the second half and scored through substitute Allahyar Sayyad (46th), Mohammad Sharifi (68th) and substitute Alireza Asadabadi (69th) to win the match.
Two-time champions Saudi Arabia started well as they played aggressive game from the start, moving the ball from the flanks. They surged ahead in the fourth minute.
It was a combined move between Mali and Mansor Albeshe. Mali released the ball back to Mansor on top of the box and the latter took a shot that beat rival keeper all ends up to find the back of the net.
Saudi Arabia, who did a lot of attacking through Mali along with Aldhuwayhi Sulaiman, posed constant threat to rival defence with swift counter moves and Iran citadel once again fell in the 42nd minute.
Mali, who received a long ball on the left, worked his way and sent a cross into the rival goal for Dhari Alanazi who tapped the ball into the net.
Iran, who struggled in the first half, made a change in the second half bringing in Allahyara Sayyad in place of Younes Delfi and the move paid off as Allahyara Sayyad nearly scored in the 45th minute but he shot over the bar.
But Sayyad made amends to his earlier lapse and found the net in the next minute as he shot home from inside the box after receiving the ball from the left.
Saudi Arabian defence fell apart after that goal and they conceded two quick goals and never recovered.
Amirhossein Esmaeilzadeh floated the ball from a corner which rival defenders failed to clear and Mohammad Sharifi, who was unmarked, shot home from close to restore parity.
Minutes later, substitute Alireza Asadabadi got the ball from a through pass, ran solo and slammed the ball into the net which ultimately turned out to be the winner.
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