Five talking points as Iran thrash Yemen in Group D opener

The final match of Matchday 3 saw the highest-ranked Asian side Iran take on the lowest-ranked Yemen. And the outcome was as perhaps many expected, with Iran thrashing their opponents by five goals to nil. Here are five things we observed from Team Melli’s big win in the AFC Asian Cup.

1. Iran’s five-star performance

The AFC Asian Cup has been somewhat peculiar so far. The teams which were expected to win heavily have either lost or struggled. As a result, many were apprehensive of backing Iran too heavily ahead of their opener. Nevertheless, Team Melli put aside all doubts right from the very start.

Mehdi Taremi started off the rout by netting in a rebound early in the first half before Ashkan Dejagah’s freekick hit the goalkeeper and went in. Taremi then scored his second and Iran’s third to give Carlos Queiroz’s men a massive lead before halftime.

Team Melli added two more in the second half, with Sardar Azmoun and Saman Ghoddos adding gloss to the scoreline. A five-star performance for Iran, who are missing several key players due to injury.

2. Tantalizing Taremi

Five Talking Points As Iran Thrash Yemen In Group D Opener

Iran were dealt some pretty big injury blows ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with Saeid Ezatolahi, Ali Gholizadeh, and Kaveh Rezaei among those sidelined. Alireza Jahanbaksh picked up a knock just before the start of the tournament, as did Sardar Azmoun, who did make it in time for the first match. As a result, many were unsure as to who would step up in the absence of several key players.

The man who answered the Iranian calls was none other than Mehdi Taremi, who’s exceptional forward play helped Team Melli run riot. Taremi scored two goals himself while having a hand in another.

However, it was his understanding with fellow forward Sardar Azmoun, which truly caught the eye. The two looked to have been in complete sync and punished Yemen severely.

3. Red Card missed? 

Iran vs Yemen was a rather ‘rough’ match. Both teams were going in hard at each other, all the while making several bad fouls.

However, the worst of the bunch came from Iran’s Majid Hosseini, who somehow escaped a Red card!

The 22-year-old defender, who plays for Trabzonspor in Turkey went in with both legs, seriously hurting his opponent. Surprisingly, the referee deemed the foul not harsh enough to show ever a yellow card!

4. Ashkan Dejagah- Iran’s unsung hero? 

Five Talking Points As Iran Thrash Yemen In Group D Opener
While much of the spotlight was on the likes of Sardar Azmoun and Medi Taremi, there was one man doing a majority of the good work for Iran- Ashkan Dejagah. 

The former Fulham man was Team Melli’s captain on the night and even contributed with an assist after his freekick hit the post, then the goalkeeper, and went into the net.

However, anything good Iran did in attack came through Dejagah as he controlled much of the midfield. The Iranian captain showed great leadership as well when things started to get heated, separating his players from their opponent on the night, and even calming them down on occasions.

A truly all-around performance from the veteran.

5. Iran’s 43-year-old wait coming to an end? 

Five Talking Points As Iran Thrash Yemen In Group D Opener

Without a shadow of a doubt, Iran are one of the best sides in Asia. They have been for quite some time as well. However, Team Melli have failed to back that tag with trophies.

Iran’s last AFC Asian Cup win came 43-years-ago, as they wrapped up their Golden age with the third consecutive trophy. Since then, they have gone on a barren run during which they have failed to even enter the final.

However, all signs point towards a change of fortunes for Team Melli. They have one of the strongest squads in the competition and are now off to a great start. They will face tougher opposition in the coming weeks but as it stands, Iran are looking likely to end their long trophy wait.


(Image Credits: AFC Asian Cup Facebook)

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